Eight men. All grandsons or spouses of granddaughters. No eight men could have been more different in every way. They stood representing blue collar, white collar, military, student, self and government employed. Short, tall, skinny, broad, blond, brunette, and everything in between. No eight men could have been more different in every way.
Yet they all bravely united. Four to each side of a great man's coffin. A great man. From the Great Generation. He survived five amphibious beach landings. He fought for our country in an era when the enemy was tangible and poured red blood on the ground. He stood his ground. He did his duty once then volunteered to go the next time a threat came. He secured our freedom and survived to come home and rebuild and make sure the freedom of his family stayed secure.
His men now flanked his side, and the family stood in line to watch them carry him. And those boy-men mustered every ounce of dignity, and they grasped the handles to the coffin, and they carried the legacy.
They carried the legacy. And they shuffled and sweated and under deep breaths groaned silently and prayed to God no one dropped the weight of the legacy they carried. And they stood together, and with dignity and honor--together--they carried the legacy.
It wasn't easy. In fact, when they were being honest, in confided moments, you could almost hear the tint of fear in their voices. The thought that had flashed through all their minds--what if we had dropped him??? Those who had watched their careful steps could almost see the question across their faces--will we make it???
They all made it. With great pride and dignity in tact. Every one earned respect that day. Every one.
And that visual, that picture of them is lasered into my brain. The younger generation, the Generation X, the Generation Y, carrying the Great Generation to his resting place.
Something inside of me almost cracked. Something inside of me almost started to cheer. These were my men--all of them a part of my family. I wanted to cheer from the sidelines, "YOU CAN DO THIS!" Keep going! You're doing a great job! Don't stop. Don't give up. Work together, and hold on. You WILL make it!!!!"
You see I saw in them the picture of the generation of men we are raising who are beginning to take their place in society. Who are taking on the mantle, the mission, the legacy of the Great Generation passing on. They are men who haven't been cheered. They are unsure in so many ways, and it's our fault.
Our culture, our women, our media beat them down and tell them they are too sensitive or not sensitive enough, they are unmotivated or motivated by the wrong things, they are to be powerful while being stripped of power, they are expected to be respectable all the while being disrespected. Yet they are men. People can you see them?
Can you see them try? They are good men.
And they have a great legacy to carry and shoulders that even I have been guilty of narrowing by my tinged words, small-mindedness, and critical attitudes. As a woman, our society tells us to roar when really, really we want our men to pursue, to provide, to roar, and if that's what we really want, then we need stand back and watch, and CHEER THEM ON.
Because my grandfather fought a physical enemy in World War II and the Korean Way, but our men today fight a much more dangerous enemy. They fight the powers of satan and his principalities in this world. They fight a system designed to demean them and make them small simply because it's the opposite of the system God set in place for them.
Our men are fighting on a very real battleground in the spiritual world, and the load is heavy. It's hard. They groan under the weight of the legacy they want so desperately to carry with dignity and honor and respect.
Can we find ways to show them this? Can we turn a deaf ear to the rights the media and culture and maybe even our friends say we have? Not to our own detriment for the profit of evil men who mean us harm, but for the profit of the good men standing around us looking for someone to cheer them on, to believe in them, to come along side them and help them shoulder the burden.
They will falter, and they will misstep. Remember, no body's perfect. But it is their duty. It is their God-ordained, call of duty, act of valor to shoulder the legacy. To bear the burden. Not because they're better than us, for no other reason than that's how God designed it to be. It was His design, His choice. It's the role God gave them in life. It's their job, their life's work.
My role in life is another blog=) But it's equally as important, and as a woman, I am uniquely equipped to succeed at the job God designed for me, just as my husband is equally and uniquely equipped to succeed at the job God designed for him. It's time we all start seeing each other as just that--equally, uniquely equipped for the separate yet equally important roles we play as men and women in this lifetime.
Take time today to show dignity, honor, and respect to the good men in your life whomever they may be. Affirm them. Help them fight the fears and lies that flit behind their mind's eye. Remind them they won't fail, they can do this, keep going.
We need to stop standing idly by, watching the men we've raised carry the legacy, silently hoping they don't drop it, anxiously wondering if they will make it. Instead, don't we already know they will make it? Don't we already believe they CAN carry the legacy? Then TELL THEM. Show them. Honor and respect them. I think we will all be surprised what happens when they know for sure that we know for sure, they can do this. By God's power, they can do this.
To the eight pall-bearers that day, I salute you. You WILL carry the legacy with success. You will not fail. I could see it in each of your eyes. You will not fail.