It’s not a popular word in its full panoply of meaning where I live.
Ones doing sacrificial things tend not to speak of them in such ways.
Others, ascribing the impetus, the motive, speak all too freely.
We are hardly edified by either approach.
Here’s the thing we perhaps miss about sacrifice.
To sacrifice, to give up something for someone else, presumably for their benefit, has a cost.
Sacrifice is the cost.
The learning curve is just that – what is learned in the aftermath probably cannot be known in the doing.
Hence to sacrifice is an on-going thing.
At the time of the sacrificial act, one may know one is making a sacrifice. What one cannot know is that the thing surrendered, given up, lost, is surrendered, given up, lost, forever.
It does not come back.
It does not replenish.
It does not magically reappear.
It is simply gone.
There is a humbling enormity to it.
When something is lost forever, that loss is carried – always.
It shapes and redefines.
It changes the person.
There is a lessening.
Maybe it was worth it.
But there is always a cost.
There, perhaps, should our honor guards, our parades, our memorials and speeches be gathered – there, where people in ways visible and invisible, where acts small as well as large upon the pages of history, where the ways things could have been and the way things are eternally co-exist.
For whether the cost be counted or not, it is always lived and lived with.
There is sorrow in that.
And whether it should be honored or not, it should be noted. And noticed.