"Memory is frequently the bondslave of despondency. As a general principle, if we would exercise our memories more wisely, we might, in our very darkest distress, strike a match which would instantaneously kindle the lamp of comfort."
"Man's most precious thought is God,
but God's most precious thought is man."
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
There is on my right forefinger a scar. You would probably miss it. The scar is small, the memory runs deep. Scars remind us of moments, painful events captured like a photograph on a layer of skin. Forgetful people need scars. As Chesterton said, "There is such a thing as the momentary power to remember that we forget." That is why my 'to do' list is usually written on the back of my left hand.
Today America celebrates Memorial Day, a day to remind us that men and women died defending our country. Yesterday was another day of remembrance- Pentecost, or as the Children of Israel call it, Shavuot, celebrating the anniversary of the day Moses was given the Law engraved on tablets of stone by the finger of God. Stone makes for good memorials. Stone has permanence. Cemeteries are filled with stones. I am grateful for the stones, the scars and Shavuot; they each remind me I am alive by the grace of God and I am grateful to be alive in America.
For a wonderful explanation of Shavuot by John J. Parsons, click here.