Tag Archives: hearts

Day 11: Thank you to our Veterans

grandpa marines 3


That’s my dad on the right.  He was a Marine in World War II.  This must have been a picture of him on a break, hanging out with his friends.  It’s good to see the smiles.  I wish I could ask him about the picture and more about the war.  He’s gone now but he never really talked about it.  I know it wasn’t easy.

I’ve always been proud of my dad for so many reasons and his being a Marine and a Veteran always made me feel extra proud.  To me, it meant he was brave and strong and disciplined and honorable.

I’m thankful to all the U.S. Veterans today and everyday.

Here’s what I want to say to them.

Thank you for fighting for my freedom. Thank  you for sacrificing and sweating and missing home and saying good-bye to your family and being brave.  Thank you for putting yourself in danger so I can live in comfort.  It’s incredible what you’ve done.  Thank you for knowing there is something bigger than you and me and us and it is worth defending.

Thank you to your families too – the wives and kids and parents and siblings who send you off not knowing if you will come back.  Thank you to them for sending you letters and love and prayers.  Thank you to them for welcoming you home with signs and letters and love and prayers and hugs.  Thank you to the military communities that support veterans when they come home and support their families when they are in waiting.

Thank you for your tough skins and your soft hearts.

I pray that we remember your soft hearts.

I pray that we can provide a safe place for you to come home to.

I pray that you will never feel alone.

We are grateful.


©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved

Open the door

To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin or your selfishness.  But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

-C.S. Lewis

It’s Valentine’s Day so I’m writing about Love.  I am so moved by the quote above, I had to include it.  It’s not flowery or sugary or sweet.  Those are some harsh words.  Most of us know that love is not always perfect.  We are always, in one way or another, changed by love. 

I, like all of you I’m sure, have been hurt.  Trusts have been broken, loyalties betrayed and feelings have been disregarded.  People I love have left and some have died.   I have cried, I have locked myself in my room, I have vowed to never come out and never love again.  “It’s too much work” I would say and “Never again!” I would promise. 

And then somehow, I would manage to open the door and walk out into the arena again. I’m not sure if this was because of my faith, my hope, or my mom telling me to (all three?) but somehow, I’d open myself up again to love. 

I like Lewis’ image of the heart being “wrung”.  What a great word!  It makes me think of my favorite t-shirt.  Not perfect, not new, a little faded and been through everything.  My t-shirt (and my heart) have seen joy, sadness, doubt, faith, hope, laughter and everything else.  No, they are no longer new but they are more comfortable and softer. 

I have a friend who says when her daughter comes home from college, she puts on her old favorite       t-shirt from high school and eats junk and watches movies with her sisters.  She grabs that t-shirt that feels like home.  She doesn’t care if it’s “wrung” – it’s hers and it knows her.  It makes her comfortable, brings back memories, reminds her of who she is and how far she’s come.

I believe hearts are like that too.  They get better with time.  They become wiser and stronger and more open and accepting and loving. 

We’ve all heard the question asked, “Is it better to have loved and lost? Or never to have loved at all?” 

And we all know the answer. 

So go ahead, open the door and get out there!

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:27, 1850