Today in the USA is Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day has always been a holiday of mixed emotions for me. I’m excited to celebrate and honor the men and women who have and are fighting for our country in many ways. I’m also thankful for them and the sacrifices they and their families have made to help make not just our country but our world a safer and better place. I also hate that they have to put their lives on the line, that we can’t all just work a little harder to make this world work for all of us and get along better. It’s also a day of sadness because while we do have many veterans who come home and are able to continue life with their families, some veterans gave their lives. It’s also a day of sadness because we’re not able to fully understand or address all of the challenges that veterans come home with like PTSD. And finally, I’m thankful for the large number of organizations that exist that support veterans and the increasing number of people and businesses who have stepped up to support those organizations and the veterans they support this year.
One of the verses that was shared with me this week was Philippians 4:4 which talks about joy and reminded me of another Bible verse about joy, James 1:2, which says “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” I don’t know about you, but this is one of the more challenging verses for me. I don’t find joy in everything, certainly not in the loss of life of those who die for our country, or the ways that war has hurt the men and women who return. Do I appreciate the work that the men and women and their families do for our country? Yes, but it doesn’t bring me joy that we have to put people in the line of fire, even if they find purpose and reward in the work they do.
The joy can be found when families reunite, when veterans are able to find purpose again after retiring from the military or being medically discharged, and in the many years that families have together after a veteran’s service is complete. The experiences we have in life change all of us, and part of life is learning to live with and adapt to those changes. Every day that God gives you, you can choose to find a little joy in it or waste that day away. Let’s work on making more moments of joy for all of us.