A few weeks ago on a sunny southern California day, I knelt at the side of my Grandfather’s grave as my dad and I arranged flowers in a makeshift flower dugout (a Titos Tacos cup was all we had and my dad was sure my grandparents would appreciate that more than the flowers).
My grandfather served in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. As with all veterans, his military service could be counted in years but the sacrifices he made for that service spanned his lifetime. As my family and I took a moment to honor this brave and good man my dad looked over at us and said “Guys, trust me, he wouldn’t want us to be here crying, he would want us to be at the beach having fun. He would want us to be living.” While the tears were important, it was a beautiful idea to me, to honor my grief, honor his life and his many sacrifices by living fully.
Viktor Frankl, who lived on the other side of the world and endured his own horrors in concentration camps as my Grandpa hunkered down in island foxholes, said “What is to give light, must endure burning.” Today we feel gratitude for the light offered to us by so many of our fellow humans. I stood up from the grave that day and brushed the dirt off my knees determined to take the light my Grandfather gave me and let it guide me into places where I can offer that same compassion and strength to others who may need it.