JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

30 May 2019

Is it Wednesday or Thursday? A three-day weekend can make it difficult to gauge the day of the week; although, in my estimation a third day off basking in sweet sunshine, especially in the name of fallen soldiers, is absolutely worth the price of minor calendrical confusion.

Gold star families feel the heaviness of Memorial Day every day. And though they aren’t celebrating the day in a jovial sense, the day serves as another bittersweet time to remember their loved ones. If you’ve ever experienced a great loss, you’ll likely remember your loved one on several special days each year – the date of their birth, the date of their death, and other significant moments you’ve shared with them (e.g., Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, a wedding anniversary or, in this case, Memorial Day.)

I imagine right before the ultimate sacrifice is given there is a large element of fear. We’ve all experienced fear in some capacity, but if you’re reading this post it hasn’t caused your demise.

Fear is like a fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you. It can heat your house. If you can’t control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you. Fear is your friend and your worst enemy. ― Sui Ishida

And like a fire, fear’s control doesn’t always lie in our hands. There are plenty of external forces that keep fires burning and spreading despite professional control strategies. But the fact that some fires (and fears) can be out of our control doesn’t mean they all are.

I’ve got a rather large fire pit that I light up when my piles of boxes get out of control. (Thanks, Chewy!). With the right precautions, my personal fire can be controlled. I’m grateful most of my current fears can be, too.

It’s easy to think all of our fears and metaphorical fires are out of our control. If we let go of our accountability, they might be, as long as we can blame our circumstances on external forces. But where does that get us? Burned out and destroyed? I’d rather be warm and nourished.

And since I’d rather have friends than enemies, I choose to make friends with fear and fire.