During this Memorial Day Holiday weekend, I hope everyone takes a moment to remember your loved ones that have passed and are no longer with us. It is easy to get caught up in our everyday lives so it is great that we have a day dedicated to honor all the people who have gone before us.
I have been thinking about my mom and dad lately. Maybe it is because of this extra ordinary time we are dealing with right now or maybe it's "just because." I remember all the things they both taught me while I was growing up. What stands out is "Patience, Kindness, and Gratitude."
Patience: I think my mom was a saint. She not only had her life take a 180 degree turn when my dad decided to become a minister at the age of 50 and move to Japan so that he could study, she had to come back to the U.S. to live a totally different life as a minister's wife. You have to understand that my mom was a very quiet and reserved person. She did not like being in the limelight. But as a minister's wife, you are in a fish bowl. Everyone is watching you. But she persevered and without complaining, adapted to her new life. She was very patient with not only the temple members, but with her family. I will elaborate on that another time.
Kindness: My mom always told us that if we did not have something nice to say, don't say it. Not as easy as it sounds. It's not just words either. Kind gestures. My dad was a very giving person. He would often unexpectedly bring guests home for dinner, offer to have people stay over when they are visiting, and taking care/raising my cousin from Japan for 3 years so that she could go to high school in the U.S. And he expected nothing in return.
Gratitude: There were many lessons on gratitude. I guess one that stands out is the need to "thank" all the people who have sacrificed or paved the way so that I can live this comfortable and happy life. Never forget that if it were not for my parents, grandparents, and ancestors before them, I would not be here. So, as Reverend Oshita once said, "Let us try to wake up each day, happy to be alive; and sleep each night, grateful for the day."