Let’s talk about sacrifice.
There is something about being human that seeks out relatability. We want to share in the experience of others, practice that empathy emotion. But when I think of the idea of sacrifice, real sacrifice, I have a hard time finding where I can relate. Sure, we all make little sacrifices here and there. When I had kids, I sacrificed some of my free time for the rewards of motherhood. And we have all made sacrifices in this season of physical distancing for the health and safety of our communities. But on weekends like Memorial Day, my suffering to stay home does not seem to fit into the category of sacrifice. It certainly is a small one in comparison.
I have had a lot of family members who have served in the military. Here’s an interesting piece of Julie trivia: I have had a family member who actively served in every major conflict in United States history, from my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather in the Revolutionary War all the way to my husband in the Afghan conflict. A few of my family members paid the ultimate price of sacrifice in service to their country. I asked Joey if he thought about sacrifice when he enlisted. He said he didn’t, even though he knew that it was possible. “That’s what you sign up for,” he said. The potential sacrifice was outweighed by the opportunity to serve the greater good.
As we sat here and talked about his time in the military, and as I remember stories of my family members, I realize that the nobility of sacrifice comes from willingness and opportunity. We live in a time where there are plenty of opportunities to serve the greater good with small day-to-day actions. If we ground our willingness to sacrifice in an attitude of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness, we have the opportunity not only to serve those around us, but show them the love of Christ. This love is anchored in sacrifice and the willingness to lay down our lives…our will…ourselves, for the sake of others.