Memorial Day: A time of sadness, joy, reflection

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2005

Every now and again, the thoughts of sharing an awesome inspirational message overwhelm me.

No matter what time of day or night it comes, I have to stop everything and write down the thought.

Then, later when I read it, I have to stop and think, "Are these original thoughts or just regurgitated thoughts from someone else," especially after just reading the provocative thoughts of another writer within the past few days.

I find today that the Scriptures are the root of all good thoughts and inspiration of what I write as well as what I read and have read from writers over the years.

Today, thanks to modern technology, I have the pleasure of being able to write my article and send it via e-mail to Kenai as usual, as though I were in my office in Seward.

However, today, I am sitting in my brother-in-law's office in Okahandia, Namibia, on vacation with the most incredible inspirational message to share. I hope this message will be a blessing to you as it is to me.

With Memorial Day just a few days away, I would like to reflect on what the holiday has meant to me over the years.

It is a time to remember those who have come and gone before us; not a time to take lightly for parties and picnics, but a time to remember those who have passed away and what their lives have meant to us.

I think we all have had loved ones or have known people who have passed on. Those people are reminders that someday, we will pass on as well.

Just last weekend, I attended a funeral service for my nephew who suddenly became ill and passed away from pneumonia.

It was a sad time because of the emptiness his loss created, but it was a joyful time as his mother and father, brothers, sister and everyone else knew Andy had a love for the Lord, which was his highest priority in life way before his illness.

My nephew Andy, was a joy to everyone he met and the proof was the turnout at his funeral.

Andy was one who lived for others rather than for himself. In his 28 years, he was a living example of what the Scriptures teach us. He was a living example of a person whose life was a reflection of the spirit of Christ in him..

Andy was remembered last Saturday for his contribution to life and for being an inspiration to all who knew him of the joy of knowing that he knew the Lord while he was living and was truly with the Lord for eternity now.

It is always a sad time at first when you remember the person, but you leave with a tremendous feeling of joy because you just know that that person is with the Lord in heaven, where we all hope to be someday.

I can't help but think of what Jesus taught us through his life and through his encouragement that if we desired first in our lives the kingdom of God for eternity, all we had to do was look to him, believe in him and he would do the rest to get us there and keep us there.

Simply believing in Christ and believing his teachings for us would insure for us everlasting happiness and hope forever, in a place much better than where we are now.

Rich or poor, things will be better for us in God's kingdom.

One of my other nephews made a comment at the wake I attended about his brother that he was in a better place.

My nephew Andy was born with Down Syndrome. He also had to have surgery shortly after he was born to repair a hole in his heart and he had a stroke at 3 and lost use of the left side of his body. Andy also had diabetes.

Andy was in a better place because of his daily afflictions that his family and friends watched him go through, but Andy never complained. He was content with where he was in his life here on earth.

He brought joy to every occasion he attended and always liked to see people laugh, so despite what we saw as limitations in his life, he was a very happy fellow enjoying the most simple things as though his heart's desires came true in just being alive and around others.

I turned to my nephew and said, "Yeah, Andy's in a better place all right. We can't even imagine the place he is in right now."

Scriptures say, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard nor has the mind conceived of the things God has planned for those who love him.'

I once thought about this statement: Even the richest man ever on Earth, Solomon, lived in poverty compared to what God has in his kingdom to share with those who love him..

What a reward!

And, to think that all who pass away with Christ as their savior and Lord will not be disappointed by what they receive when they enter into eternal life with Christ.

Memorial Day is a sad day because of the reflection of others who have passed on and the emptiness we feel from their loss.

Let it also be a joyous day for those who believe Christ came to save and give eternal life so those who believe in him would never die, but live forever with him in that place that is a better place than what we can ever know here on earth.

May the Lord bless you and yours this Memorial Day with good thoughts and hope for those who have passed on to a better place.

My hope is that they who have passed on will also put in a good word for us before we join them, so we can all be joined together someday with Christ forever in that better place.

Mark Conway is an evangelist living in Seward.

You may contact him via e-mail at

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