I visited Washington, DC, for the first time in 2009. I knew very little about where to go and how to travel in the city. Yet it was an imperative to me to see the nation’s monuments positioned in and around the Capital area. Yes, I’d heard stories and seen many pictures such as Lincoln’s towering figure seated overlooking the Capital. I’d seen photographs of people tracing their fingers across the names of loved ones on the Vietnam Wall. And numerous photos of Arlington Cemetery can be readily found.
Yet until I stood as a tiny figure under Lincoln’s feet
and until I stood at the Wall,
and until I squinted my eyes in a vain effort to try to see the outer edge of the vast rows of perfectly aligned white grave markers,
the realities of it all just did not sink in. I had to see, touch, and experience them personally for the meaning of the powerful monuments to touch my soul.But there was another monument that took me by surprise. Why I had never known of it is a mystery to me. But walking along the monument trails, I came upon the Korean War monument. Significantly different in its approach, the monument is a small field of soldiers frozen in a moment in time, looks of concern, fear, and anxiousness forever etched on their faces.
Aside from the deeply human connection to the monument design itself, as I stood there I thought, “and this was the war in which Daddy served.” And while he would be quick to say he didn’t serve in a field in this way, it doesn’t matter. This was his time, his buddies, his world, his war. It suddenly become intensely personal. And just a few feet away, a sobering reminder:
Monuments. Emotional. Powerful. Reminding. Convicting.
In this week’s readings were some different kinds of monuments:
At each of these moments, a mere human encountered the Almighty God and found the natural response to build a monument, a way to call those that come along behind to remembrance.
Personal interactions. Lasting connections. Legacies for the future. Monuments.
So, here’s the question I'm pondering this week: What am I leaving behind in the places that I touch that bring others to a place of remembering and honoring God?
No, I’m not suggesting I gather stones into a pile every time I encounter God. Rather, I’m pondering how I can build spiritual touch points, places of remembrance into my day-to-day interactions with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers I encounter. How can I be intentional about sharing the moments of awe and honor in the presence of the Holy One as I go through my day-to-day life?
And as was the case with my first walk through Washington, those connections with those we love most (like my wonderful Dad), are the ones that have the potential of touching us most deeply.
My husband, my children, my parents, my siblings, my church family, my friends: What legacies, what spiritual monuments or reminders will they experience because of my life?
Lord, please help me to be mindful of my daily walk with You, to be intensely conscious of what I leave behind in the lives I touch.
Thank you for loving me enough to leave Your Path clearly marked. Thank you for paying the price. Freedom isn't free.
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