I often notice connections between events and wonder about their positions in relation to each other and what might be the meaning or importance, if any. We have just honored three such events and just for now, I’m going to suggest that between these three there does indeed exist a relationship. A synergy. An entry point. These three are Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Memorial Day.
Mother’s Day begins this trinity of events in mid-May; the conclusion comes in mid-June with Father’s Day. Squarely in the center is Memorial Day. Hmmm, I say.
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day act as parentheses or brackets or bookends setting aside a space that is holy, a reflective time. We begin by thinking about our mothers, honoring them with gifts or cards if they are still living; calling them to memory if they have passed on. We end this set apart time by celebrating our fathers in a similar way with cards and gifts and phone calls to our living fathers and bringing back the memories of our fathers who are no longer with us. We pause, we remember, maybe we sigh or cry or rejoice; no matter, we are attentive to the connection we have with the people who gave us our very lives. Perhaps we think also about their parents and theirs and theirs – all the relatives we’ve heard about, some we even knew and remember.
Right between those bookends we find Memorial Day, another day of remembering. We think of those who have served, some may be our own relatives who served in previous wars. We may be one of those who served in that way – in war time or in preparedness time, at the ready, just in case. Those who serve are remembered for their sacrifices, which are many, and often go unspoken.
In this bracketed time, there is a sense of hushed reverence. Maybe a bitter sweetness. Maybe regrets. Maybe sorrow and longing. Maybe deep gratitude. We naturally turn from looking back to our parents and grandparents to looking forward to our children and grandchildren. We – you and I – occupy this sacred middle ground. Behind us are the relatives who have contributed to make us and our lives what they are. In front of us are our children and their children, the future that is yet to be. The future that we – you and I – in this in between space of now, are shaping for our children. We may retrieve and pass along stories from our remembered past, characteristics that only we hold within and may give forward. What in this sacred space of now, from all the thousands of fragments of moments and memories do we hold dear? What is worthy of passing on into the future? What is the living memorial that is the gift of now?
This bracketed space between our mothers and fathers, this holy instant, this moment of us, is indeed potent. It is indeed related to every other moment before and yet to be. Canta Libre!
This beautiful song written by Neil Diamond was haunting me, playing in my head during the holy in between time. My granddaughter just told me what the Spanish words mean. A coincidence or a synergistic relationship?
Canta libre, canta vida, de mi madre, y mi padre,
Canta mi corazon, para los ninos, y sus ninos,
Canta libre, canta la vida.
Sing free, sing life of my mother, of my father,
my heart sings for the children, and for their children
sing free, sing life!
- copyright 1972 Neil Diamond