No I do not remember heart warming stories from veterans or stories about hope through the despair of war... Instead I remember hearing "the guns below" of my own kind. Since my visit to the doctor at the walk in clinic just five days before, I had gone for the chest x-ray (which came back completely clear - so no 'silent pneumonia for me), went to see my own family doctor (who is amazing and has remained to be throughout my journey!) as things continued to get worse, and had more tests done. I no longer could sleep with just one or two pillows but rather needed five if I had any hopes of breathing while trying to sleep, I was more exhausted than ever, I could barely walk from my bedroom to the kitchen in our small apartment without getting short of breath, and was getting a bit worried that something horrible may be going on. But I kept on going because that is just what I did. I did not have to teach Sunday School that week, which was a relief as I had been teaching almost every Sunday since September as I attend the first church plant from Village Church and it was still small and in need of a lot of help. I do miss those kids, they were great, so much fun, and their answers always so honest. I remember we were talking about what it would be like if we were walking in the garden of Eden with God and one girl said she thought it would be like "walking on a rainbow with all the beautiful colours" - I think she may have been on to something, can you even imagine how beautiful that would be? (I hope you pause to actually imagine that)In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below
So on a day when we normally celebrate our country's freedom, I was feeling more and more confined, confused, and helpless. I do not like that Remembrance Day will now always remind me of my own struggles when I know that the people who fought for freedom went through much worse than this disease. I pray instead that when I wear a poppy again, I would not think of my struggles or even their struggles alone, rather I pray that I would think of His blood shed for me, for them, for us all. I pray that the poppy would symbolize freedom in Christ above all other freedoms. I pray that the poppy would cause me to remember the pain but also the peace that Christ gave me that day but that I would not stop there. That I would remember the fight that Christ has won through conquering the grave, instead of remembering my feelings of the grave or the graves of soldiers alone. But more than that, the cry of my heart is that we would be able to wear our struggles, pain, and grave-like times on our shirts as we wear the poppy. That we would be vulnerable and open with each other. That we would share our hurts with our family, friends, and especially the church. Obviously this looks different for everyone and some things are best not broadcasted to the world, but I pray that we would not wait until November 11 to remember sacrifice, suffering, and pain but rather we would live in the reality that all is not always "good" and live in the truth that it is in and through suffering where Christ meets us, holds us, and reigns victorious!
Lest we forget.