I watched the Remembrance Day National Ceremony shown live at the National War Memorial in Ottawa last week. It was quite moving especially with the videographers panning and capturing the faces of those who attended the memorial. Covered in masks for the most part, the participants eyes spoke volumes to me. Is there not a saying somewhere that the eyes are like windows to your soul or something like that? Maybe William Shakespeare? Anyway, I was struck by the gamut of expression telling their own story; eyes expressing many emotions in their depths. The holding back of unshed tears, clouded looks, sightless peering off into the distance, tightly squeezed eyes shut, unguarded thoughts…maybe of memories from yesteryear. Yet they stand there proudly in the midst of the many, a young and old gathering of the human heart.
How do we support keeping the ‘remembering’ and hold steadfastly the memories of those men and women who gave up their own lives so that we as a country can enjoy the unbelievable fruits of their sacrifices. As I was readying myself for the moment of silence, I surfed the net seeking out pieces of work connected to Remembrance Day and I came across a video clip on Youtube. One piece in particular spoke volumes to me titled a A Pittance of Time, a music video written and performed by Terry Kelly many moons ago. I believe he is a Canadian folk singer from the Maritimes. Talk about moving the heart, the song jiggled and jostled me inside and out prompting my eyes in shedding a tear or two. How the video creates such a poignant telling message in such a way to provoke a response to “stop and pause” for just a pittance of time?? Wow! Perfect words for me because for goodness sake, can we not pause for a moment!!
The realization that many peoples across the world living today have not experienced such wars and devastations as from our past does not bode well for keeping the memories alive. An old adage of ‘we do not know what we do not know’ makes it difficult to give real meaning to the many horrors and devastations that have reeked havoc historically and still continue in certain parts of our world to this day. The why what where who when and how falls and fails in its learnings and losses from the past, shaping and molding our present and future. I think that is why the phrase ‘pittance of time’ speaks to me so strongly and heartrendingly. To give over for just a moment, a stoppage to one’s ‘busy’ lived life and allowing such a day like Remembrance Day for instance, to be honoured and commemorated.
Moving moments, a mere pittance of time. What prevents the pause? Hmmmm. Do you not have a song or passage or poem or saying or image or book or even a tradition that for some reason you hold on to, bring out (if you remember) at different times over the course of the year? No matter how many times you have listened, heard, read, touched or carried the experience out, it tugs at the heartstrings, making an indelible impression; affecting the heart, mind, spirit, funny bone. Oh I have lots of them and they are so good to hold on to.
The feeling of those touching moments, times where you are awe struck, captivated, paused. I think we need ‘a pittance’ of poignant once in awhile. Don’t you? Does that sound kind of crazy? The spirit within seems to be in need of a sliver of a teardrop, a chortle, a sigh, a happiness to come in, even a sadness too so as to stir the soul within for a bit, the heart of you.
November is a perfect month, albeit darker shorter daylight in the day, to sidle up to slowing your roll, grabbing the clock as it were (or digital watch or Big Ben or hourglass or timepiece or Apple watch etc) and awakening to the changes marked by giving over to this month that has been dedicated to memories of loved ones gone, past and present. It does not take much out of your day, next to nothing really, to spend a candlelit time so to speak. A mere pittance of time.
Yes there will be plenty of memories that are quite nostalgic in nature, putting you into a space of smiles and chuckles, unsullied and joyful, as you muse about the past of a person you are thinking of. To give over to the memory and give it a tiny amount of you and your time, you may pull up that old letter from them (email or twitter or Facebook today), play an old song, look at old photos, or maybe even cook a meal that reminds you of them. But on the other side, often with a greater intensity of emotion, some memories can come crashing in which are not so life-giving in nature, resurrecting and bringing up old thoughts of anger or sadness or hurt onto wards the loss of someone. I refer to them as triggers. Sometimes these come out of the blue and other times not so much because a certain event or situation triggers an onslaught of long ago thought to be forgotten feelings. Hmmm.
The act of remembering is a gift whether it evokes joyful glee and heel-kicking or filled with a deep sadness and sorrow and regret. Remembering does something for you and I…it gives each of us our own story, snippets of mini moments, that shape us in some way. A wondrous realization of thanksgiving and forgiveness.
Light up a life in remembrance even if for a pittance of time. Blessings today.
Let us pray for those whom are in need of our prayers and for those who struggle with remembering and keeping memories.