Yesterday when I walked into the nave at Saint John Orthodox Church in midtown Memphis (my parish) I immediately noticed the small table on the solea (raised stage-like area in front of the nave) with the large bowl of boiled wheat (known as “kolliva”) with three long candles sticking out of it. I wondered who died. Soon I would find out that we were praying the memorial prayers for a friend’s mother, who died five years ago. In the Orthodox Church we do lots of prayers for the dead—at the time of their death and then several days, weeks, months and years later.
When I was considering what to write about for today’s post—especially since today is Memorial Day—I noticed that last year on this day my husband and I were in Jackson, Mississippi, praying and singing at the graves of my father, my brother, and my Goddaughter. My brother was in the Marines, and although he didn’t die while serving our country, I still honor him today.
Whether you’re celebrating the holiday with outdoor activities or movies or naps or just spending time with family or friends, it’s good to take a few minutes to remember the men and women who gave their lives in the service of our country. Here’s a short article from Time on the history of the holiday. Since my husband works at the VA Medical Center, he gets lots of opportunities to take care of those who are still living. Today I’m glad he gets a little bit of rest from his labors, although he’s usually also working when he’s at home. He’s not in the military, but he gives 100% to his work at the VA and has done so now for almost 38 years.
We’re “between trips” this weekend, so we’re just taking it easy on this holiday Monday. Thursday we’re off to California for Kate Mashburn’s wedding. We’ve known Kate’s parents for about 47 years (yes!) and can’t wait to celebrate with Kate, James and their families at a beautiful winery and vineyards this Saturday. Stay tuned, and Happy Memorial Day!