This past Saturday, as I was chatting with some seminary friends at another seminary friend's wedding reception, we got to chatting about the peculiarity of life. Basically, we were just remarking about how we got to meet/see all kinds of new people we would otherwise not have met because they live 1000 miles away from us, but because we went to this wedding, we "met" them. We also talked a little about how people's lives are so deep and rich and there is no way we could ever know all about them. For instance, one of the guests just got engaged last week, but didn't want to say anything for fear it would steal away from celebrating Bride and Groom's day.
As I reflected on that, I got to thinking about how EVERYONE has things that even good friends don't know about. There are milestones, happy and sad, that are faced all the time. There are personal struggles that are either painful or embarassing or whatever that they don't want to share. But there are also joys and happiness that sometimes people don't share for fear of minimalizing a friend's emotions.
It dovetails nicely with the saying, "Be kind to everyone you meet because they are all facing some sort of battle."
Every day is a new day. But, every new day comes after an old day that has affected how we live. Each day is not lived out in a vacuum, unless, of course, you are Drew Barrymore in "50 First Dates." Days have symbolic meaning in our culture. We measure the passage of time in days. We celebrate days: Christmas Day, New Year's Day, birthdays, Independence Day, etc. And we also reminisce about days that bring forth memories; some painful, some joyful, and some a mixture of many things.
On this day in 2002, I went to the movies and watched "Austin Powers: Goldmember" with my two step-nieces. When I returned from an early showing, Ma told me that her biopsy had come back with news of breast cancer. From that day forward, she dealt with surgery, chemo, radiation, the loss of all her hair, illness, pain, and a host of other effects of cancer.
And yet, as I look back on my own experience with this particular day in history, I know that others have far more painful memories associated with it. Conversely, I know that this is the birthday for many, many people, as well as the wedding anniversary, or any other celebration that we have under the sun.
We can live out each day, even days that bring us painful memories without shame because pain is just as valid an emotion as any other one. It's too bad that our culture tells us to shut up and get over it already. To all who remember "anniversaries," good or bad, I say, "Embrace your feelings. They are valid, and you are valid."