Today I’m all about the poppy and The Nightingale…. hello, Remembrance Day. Much like you, I have been brought up to honour and appreciate the sacrifice made by soldiers past and present for our freedom—a two-minute silence, a poppy on the lapel, a heart-flutter at the sight of ancient veterans swaddled in blankets over their uniforms. Maybe it’s because I just finished The Nightingale novel set in France during WWII, or maybe I’m feeling a little nostalgic watching The Crown on Netflix, but this year I want to stop and remember and truly give thanks.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
We have no idea really, do we? We can barely imagine Starbucks being closed for a day let alone lining up for meager rations to feed our starving kids. We hum-and-haw over whether we should buy a new dining set, and cannot possibly conceive the idea of chopping up our furniture to build a fire and stay warm overnight. Unfortunately, some areas today actually are war-torn and going through the unimaginable, and many in our world are starving… but can you picture it happening in our very own country? Sending our boys off on a wing and a prayer. Living in constant fear of bombing. And those brave souls who fought and saw things etched indelibly on their minds… We have no idea.
And yet something within, something real and true and good tells us that we need to fight for our brother, even if it means we put our own lives on the line. We starve ourselves if it means our toddler can have a morsel of food in her belly. That “putting others first”, that “doing unto others as you would have them do to you”— it’s LOVE. And it’s part of who we are, who we were created to be. If God is love and we are made in His image, then the willingness to lay down our life for another makes sense.
Because He did it for us.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” I John 4:10
I’m not pretending that I understand for one minute what everyone went through during wartime, but I so, so appreciate it. Whether I think of my own WWII soldier grandfather carrying messages on his motorbike in Africa, or pray for the troops of today carrying out their assignments so selflessly—I am in awe. And I know we must never forget.
There are many books out there to remind us of our soldiers, some accurate accounts and some romanticized versions. I’m a fiction writer and a big fiction reader, so I appreciate when a novel hits me between the eyes and leaves me churned up and restless, like I’ve lost a best friend as I turn the last page. Know what I mean?
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” William Styron
Reading The Nightingale during the lead up to Remembrance Day was especially poignant… it brought the harsh reality of war to life while reminding me that REAL PEOPLE with relationships and challenges and everyday situations had to go through so much. Here’s my review:
“Harrowing, heartbreaking, and hopeful. This is officially my favourite fiction read of the year! The Nightingale drew me in deeply—the relationship between two sisters, the authentic French setting, and the surreal struggle for survival during the Second World War. Kristin Hannah entices the reader into the fascinating unraveling story of relationships, while providing unimaginable details of the horrors of war. A compelling read and a story that will stay with me for a very long time. ‘In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.’”
Clearly, I’m a huge fan and if you would like to pick up a copy, here’s my Amazon affiliate link (full disclosure here) which means I get a tiny commission while you pay the regular price for The Nightingale in KINDLE or HARDBACK. It’s just soooo good!
Whether we take a few minutes today to pray, talk with a veteran, watch a war movie, rock a poppy on our lapel, or even read The Nightingale... let’s give thanks. “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers” (Philemon 1:4)
May your heart swell with gratitude today as you remember~
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: