As time passes we collect events in our memory. Some are proud, some happy and hopefully fewer are sad. We may have been unwilling participants in a sad event but sometimes we have a pivotal role in creating the consequences. More than likely the consequences were unintended but they still occurred and the best among us will take responsibility for the resulting sadness created. Sometimes there aren't any good choices -- only the least of the bad.
I try not to dwell on my mistakes. Still, I don't want to forget them either. To forget our mistakes is to risk they will be repeated. Before the ultimate family holiday, Christmas, the sad events creep foremost in my thoughts. Despite a strong positive attitude the sad events somehow seem to be more vivid and detailed in my memory. Are these ghostly visitors my penance for life's mistakes and unintended consequences? Perhaps they are. I'd rather think of them as lessons learned. Being a veteran I've spent some lonely Christmases far from home and family. Those times the creep of sad memories became a full scale charge. All the greater reason for everyone back home to support and respect the military that serve their country in far away places during Christmas.
I pray for all in the military unselfishly protecting us at home. May they find some holiday joy even in the simple things -- to hear your name during mail call, to see a symbol of Christmas, or even a piece of apple pie in the mess tent. Never forget that many you'll never meet respect you greatly, appreciate what you do and pray for your safety.