Saturday, May 29, 2010

Parade of Emotions

There's just something about a summer parade that seems to make me very emotional. Maybe it's the combination of warm weather and relaxing with my family that brings down my defenses and lets my true feelings show.

Most parades start with the American flag and our veterans who so proudly served our country. Witnessing these brave men and women, and all of the people honoring their commitment to America by standing with their hands over their hearts always begins a flow of tears from my eyes as my heart tugs with a mix of pride and love.

The tears are soon wiped away as Santa appears in Bermuda shorts with a gaudy, artificial white Christmas tree and shouts out "I'm watching you!" He's followed by bubble blowing men wearing Hawaiian grass skirts who are joined by several silly clowns. How can I not smile at these delightful people?

Then the tears start again when a truck appears with several elderly men sitting in the back wearing white shirts and black ties enjoying some of their favorite polka tunes. I am reminded of my dad and his love for polkas. It was in this season of summer that his earthly life passed into eternity.

But tears easily turn to laughter when a fire truck drives by and squirts the sun-baked crowd with water hoses. Even more laughter erupts when the crowd begins to throw water balloons at the firemen! But the best gut-wrenching laugh comes when a water balloon misses its target and hits my brother-in-law right in the stomach!

Here come the tears again as a convertible car drives by transporting a beautiful girl in an evening gown with a sash and crown and I hear my daughter Mary call out "You're pretty!" Mary is so sweet and honest and I am so proud of her!

Back to the smiles as a float arrives with a young rock band wailing out an angst filled song. Their long hair that hides their faces cannot hide the fact that their heads bang back and forth to the music and I catch my teenage sons following the band with their eyes all the way down the street with looks of longing on their faces.

Something about the antique fire trucks with their sirens blaring sends a chill through my body in spite of the heat of the day and the tears fill my eyes once again. Laughter returns when the clerks from the local grocery store march past pushing grocery carts filled with (what else?) water balloons!

The tears of National Pride are turned back on again as the High School Marching Band passes by blasting out "America the Beautiful" on their horns and drums. It causes goose bumps to appear on my arms and I automatically rub them to bring some warmth back to my body even though I am standing in the blazing sun.

Delight resumes when the children cry "CANDY"! and scramble to collect the treats that are thrown at their feet. Mary has the spirit of sharing as she throws a few pieces back to me and my husband. And what kind of treat does the Natural Food Store give out? Why fresh daisies, of course!

The parade is complete with horses and cowboys, antique cars and historical costumes. My family packs up our chairs, blankets and candy (please don't forget the candy!) and drive home with satisfied smiles on our faces and warm feelings in our hearts.

I realize that the parade is like life, an absurd mix of joys and sorrows, side by side, one after the other. And somehow, it seems right that parades and life should be this blend of ups and downs. God created our lives to be connected with others, we are meant to share our joys and sorrow standing side by side in our community. We strengthen each other in our sorrow and laugh with each other in our joy. I thank God for summertime parades of emotion and lifelong journeys of emotion as well. Joy and sorrow belong together just as naturally as we all belong to God. I love and embrace this contradiction, this joy and sorrow intertwined. I am thankful for this lifelong mingling of emotion that draws us closer to one another and closer to God.


  1. Some folks have all the luck! We don't get squirted by firetrucks here when it's hot.

  2. I love the "joy and sorrow intertwined" Beautiful!

  3. Hi Anne,

    For some reason, I thought you wrote earlier that you had given up blogging! I must have misunderstood something! I am glad to see that is not the case and will put you back on my blogroll! I am glad I stumbled back past here.

    Happy Memorial Day!

  4. Oh Elizabeth,how sweet! I did stop for two weeks with the intention of quitting for good, but found it to be impossible to stay away! I have drastically cut back from my former daily posting to maybe once or twice a week. This is much better, seems to be suiting me just fine!

    Happy Memorial Day to you as well!

  5. Thanks for taking us on that journey of emotions with you, and for the perfect analogy you ended up at.

    And consider me another reader who is very thankful you decided to keep writing!

    God Bless!

  6. Just what I needed to read today Anne! And ditto on the comments about being glad to have you back!

    God bless America and all who died to give and protect the freedom we now enjoy!

    Happy Memorial day everyone!

  7. Please Anne don't stop Blogging. Many are using your Blog as a standard to measure their Blogs by - especially me (or is it I?) who envies your writing skills.

    You have been awarded a Sunshine Award Anne. Please visit my Blog to collect it.

    God bless.

  8. Victor, you are amazingly kind! Someone who has such a knack for creating fictional stories that deliver wonderful morals is truly the leader of the pack! It is I who envies you!

    Thanks for the award!

  9. I'm so glad you didn't really go away :-)