Her phrase in the text exchange brought me up short. “You are one of the few who remembers still”. I was shocked. The few? Not all, or even most? I was surprised to be in that category. Are we really like that? Do we suffer from such hyperactivity that something an event fades so relatively quickly? It there that much “moving along” with life?
I remember the day way too clearly. I had seen her at church and we talked about what we had heard on the news, about the concern she had. I had even blogged about it (in my old blog), and had just gotten done with that when I received the email she sent to her network of friends:
“I’m driving to Dover in the early morning to receive his remains”.
He had died in Kabul the day before, one of over 1800 service men and women killed in combat since that war started (with more dying in non-combat events). I knew her more than him. I had prayed for him; I grieved for her.
Her comment about one of the few who remembers still reminded me that while we think of those who have given all, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that their families are STILL giving their all and that they have been permanently changed and affected. Our involvement anymore moves at the speed of electrons – a Tweet, Facebook update, a Tumblr post –and then we’re gone, moving on to the next item, the next issue, the next, the next the next….
I wonder what of ourselves and of society we lose in this breakneck pace of events that prevents thoughtful reflection. It’s not just that life passes like telephone poles on an old country road, it’s that our engagement, retention, contemplation, processing of it passes as quickly. The death of a good father, soldier, warrior of kindness. The tragic picture of a small boy on a Turkish beach. Oops, blinked. Too late. Off the screen….literally and figuratively… and with that, gone from our minds. That which is thoughtfully considered, evaluated, reflected upon will mold us, deepen us, change us. Maybe what we need to do is stop, think, process, reflect, remember. Maybe it will add some needed richness to our lives, and our society.