Today in the UK it is Remembrance Day – a day to reflect on and remember the men and women who serve their country in the Armed Forces.
This morning, just before 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, someone in our village was playing bagpipes. On a clear, cold, crisp November morning, the sound carried beautifully and mournfully outwards and then quieted….. silenced for 2 minutes inviting people to take time to Stop. Think. Remember.
I sat for the time, with the window wide open in FBHQ at the top of the house and in those moments I sent out quiet thoughts and thanks to my family, friends, colleagues, peers. I thought of people I have loved & lost and those lost to others. I thought of people who are very present. The people who shaped me. The people who messed with my shape. The people I’ve lost connection with.…. I thought of the awfulness and inevitability of loss and how that irrevocably shifts us, whether or not we choose.
Then the bagpipes struck up again and I was shaken from my reverie and went about my day.
Yet I find myself sitting tonight with a sense of privilege that I’m here and I am lucky enough to stand firmly in the world… and I sense that I can always strive to be more and better to honour those who crossed my mind when I took time to remember.
And I leave it to Mary Oliver to best sum up the question that drives me as I remember and reflect:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”