A Memorial Day Lesson about Living with Meaning

by | May 24, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

With the end of May approaching, we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day in the United States. An important holiday, Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember men and women of America’s military who have lost their lives in service to their country and the people who live in it. Each year, I try to be intentional about reflecting on this day and what I can learn from their incredible sacrifice.

As I have reflected this year, the thought, “they believed in something greater than themselves” continually comes to mind. This was demonstrated by their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way, all while knowing the potential cost to them was greater than the potential short-term, individual reward. Defending yourself or your loved ones from an immediate threat is one thing. Intentionally and proactively moving toward a threat on behalf of people you may never meet or know is an entirely different level. It requires something more.

Having never served in the military, I do not pretend to understand what it is like to be in that position. However, this does not mean I cannot learn from that level of sacrifice, dedication, and purpose. How can I live a life that outlives my years?

This is what comes to mind when I consider the sacrifice of people who died in defense of the United States. In many cases, their years may have been short. They may have lost their life in a physical sense while still relatively young. Despite this, the impact of their life has far outlived their years on this earth. It is fair to say, they are still making a difference today, providing the opportunity for you and me to live in freedom. This is because they lived with purpose for something that had meaning beyond their own existence.

We can learn a lot from this. We can find great meaning and significance when we begin to live for something greater than ourselves. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling hopeless because we are only focused on our own lives. This is not a great strategy and not the way we were designed to work. We were created to find purpose outside of ourselves. The old saying, “it is better to give than to receive” is evidence of this. Turning our focus beyond ourselves leads us to a more fulfilling life.

I have found this to be true in my life. When I started to understand that I was created on purpose and for a purpose by a God who loves me and has given me the opportunity to help others discover the same, I discovered greater significance and meaning. I was more willing to sacrifice because I knew that the potential impact would go beyond my life. I could effectively outlive my years by giving my life away for something would do the same. In believing in something greater than myself, my life is more hope-filled and fulfilled.

How about you? What can you learn from the men and women we honor on Memorial Day? Maybe it’s the same lesson. Taking the lead from them, you can live a more meaningful life by living for and believing in something greater than yourself–something that outlives you. Our lives are better because of how they lived. Maybe one day someone will say the same about you.

Happy Memorial Day! I am forever grateful for the opportunities I have been provided by the sacrifice so many have given!

James Belt

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