Posted on Nov 21, 2020

22 November 2020

It must be 25 years ago already that I went to Washington, DC

I’ve been there a number of times but hadn’t really done much of the touristy stuff.

One of the things I did was go to the Vietnam Memorial

I arrived at about 10:00 pm and was amazed by the number of people who were there.

I was moved as well by the number of people who were openly grieving at the site–

after all these years, still grieving.

I watched them stand motionless before one spot.

I watched them rub their hands over the same name, over and over.

Maybe because it was dark,

maybe because I too had lived through that era, and maybe,

because you can’t go to the Vietnam memorial and not be bonded to the pain of that time.

I thought that of all the memorials in this country this one stands as a symbol of missed    opportunities.

It stands, not so much as a testimony to valor or courage

–though those were certainly present there, but to our regrets

A poem which was left at the wall says most of what I am trying to say:

Remember the day I borrowed your brand new car and dented it?

I thought you’d kill me, but you didn’t.

And remember the time I dragged you to the beach, and you said it would rain and it did?

I thought you’d say, “I told you so,” but you didn’t.

Do you remember the time I flirted with all the guys to make you jealous and you were?

I thought you’d leave me, but you didn’t.

Do you remember the time I spilled strawberry pie all over your car rug?

I thought you’d hit the roof, but you didn’t.

Remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was formal and you showed up in jeans?

I thought you’d drop me, but you didn’t.

Yes, there were a lot of things you didn’t do.

But you put up with me, and you loved me.

There were a lot of things I wanted to make up to you when you came back from Vietnam,

but you didn’t.

The gospel today suggests there is a price which we all pay or will pay for the opportunities we miss.

The gospel also suggests that it does no good for us to plead ignorance: “We didn’t know.”

We are told, this weekend, and next, to be on the lookout, to pay attention to our lives.

The good news is the Lord really believes it is possible–that we do not have to have hearts of stone.

The bad news is that we are held accountable for turning our hearts into stone.