It’s Memorial Day today and I was talking to a woman at church yesterday and asked her if she had any plans, a cookout with friends, swimming and lounging, or visiting grave sights, anything to commemorate the day. She looked a little sad and said “it’s just another day. But when I was a kid we would celebrate everything. Every holiday, big or small. Decorations, food, family. Thinking about it brings out the kid in me. If I had a place of my own, I would celebrate every holiday.”
I love that. Celebrate. There are so many opportunities to celebrate. So many chances to fight for joy in our lives. But I fear, too many of us miss the chance for joy in celebrating. We rationalize with “it’s not practical” “it takes time” “it costs money” “It doesn’t really matter” But it does matter because we need joy in our lives and celebrating things can bring us joy. It doesn’t have to cost money, unless you want it to. It might take an extra ounce of time and energy, but I’m convinced the joy it brings will repay you twice fold, if not more.
My mother-in-law celebrates everything. My kids get cards in the mail for Valentines, St. Patricks Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and the first day of summer and winter. She decorates little areas of her house and writes on little chalk board signs for each obscure holiday. I love this about her. She takes celebrating seriously and she is full of joy.
A friend of mine is going through menopause. She took the news really hard and just couldn’t see the beauty in this next season of life. I immediately felt compelled to encourage celebration! (Now, I understand I’ve never been through menopause so I don’t know what it’s like, but I do believe certain things in life need to be celebrated among close friends—especially milestones, and the beginning and passing of certain seasons.) I started thinking of party names for this particular celebration. “The Hell Yes Party,” “Hot Hallelujah Party,” “Freed from the Bleed” “The Red is Dead” and my personal favorite “Flo No Mo.” We’d all wear red, but she would wear black. We’d drink Bloody Mary’s and invite Flo from the Progressive commercials to give this certain season the right send off. I’m already excited for my Menopause Party.
Fight for joy. Life gives us enough reasons not to celebrate, why not take every opportunity we can to throw a little party?
Many people might think negatively about celebrating and making a big deal out of things. I’ve certainly heard people talk negatively about the stores coming out with Christmas decorations in July, and Valentines decorations in December, always reaching for that next party, always planning for that next celebration. I’ve read writers who condemn this kind of behavior saying “we’re grasping for joy” instead of living in and enjoying the moment, but I believe there is a balance of both. Grasping for joy is not a bad thing. Fighting for joy is a necessary part to living this life. Without joy, what do we have? Yes, live in the moment, but live with joy. Truly live, don’t just get by, don’t just make-it-through, LIVE.
Happy Memorial Day. Hope you’ll celebrate in some way, even if it’s just wearing a star crown on your head!