May 29, 2017
"It's a holiday; you should relax and enjoy it!" So said my neighbor as he sat on the rocks by the waterfall at the southern end of our property. I was weed-whacking around the barberry bushes near the bridge abutment, and had a few other locations to attack before I hung it up. Earlier, I had participated in our village Memorial Day parade and service, and later in the afternoon, I loaded chunks of tree trunk into my tractor bucket to dump into my pickup before taking it over to our son's to be split for winter firewood. I thought, perhaps a bit too judgmentally, that a little more work and a little less relaxation on his part might not be a bad idea.
We relaxed later with family and friends for our annual Memorial Day picnic, enjoying the first dogs and potato salad of the season, and finished off with a good cup of coffee. A bit later when we got home, Linda and I finished picking up brush and branches, then sat and talked for a half hour on the deck overlooking the creek.
It's not that we can't relax; it's that we have things that need to be done: getting our Cassadaga house ready for sale, getting the yard in shape for summer, cleaning the fish pond, laying a patio, and later on, cutting firewood for next winter. Too much sitting around isn't good for us. For me, part of it is a fear of laziness. It bothers me when I see people wasting this precious gift of life on inconsequential things like online games, partying, being little more than spectators in life when God made us to be participants. It bothers me because I know I could easily become a couch potato; I have to fight laziness every day. It helps that I believe in the sacredness of life; it is a gift from God himself. Like I've told my grandchildren, "You'll never look back and say, 'Remember that day we spent watching TV? Wasn't that great?'"
I am grateful for days like today that are set aside to remember and reflect on our freedoms and blessings. And I am grateful for those more common days of work and toil that comprise most of life. There are too many whose days were cut short, who never got to know the joys of family gatherings or the steady rhythm of work and rest that fill life with joy and stability. We honor them today as we rest, but even more in the tomorrows in which we work, translating these blessings into products, relationships, and services that bless others and fill life with meaning.