God Bless America…
Earlier this week we celebrated America’s Independence Day. An opportunity to be patriotic just for being American!
I consider myself quite patriotic, but the current state of our politics often stunts my patriotic heart-swelling. But for one day I joined with others as we let our hearts swell away!
I love this holiday because (at least in my town) the culture changes. We seem to take a step back into time. People are friendly. Families are walking and riding their bikes around. There are community gatherings everywhere–bike parades, picnics, concert bands, volleyball games, and more!
I love being in the midst of it, so I picked up my bicycle from where I had been storing it (for over a year), topped off the tires, and set out to the lake where the main celebration is held. But this year, as I rode through the gathering crowd, I noticed something new. Many of the younger generation were passionately insisting on a patriotic focus. I passed many groups of teens and young adults walking around with flags and patriotic shirts, shouting and cheering for “ ‘Merica!” After they passed, younger children took up the call, repeating the “cool” phrase they had just heard. My heart swelled more times than I can count. I’m talking heart-swelling in spades here, people!
It gave me hope–hope that maybe this country isn’t going to be lost in bureaucracy. Hope that maybe grassroots efforts are real and effective. Hope that real people are still teaching their children real things about life-like honor, respect, patriotism, kindness, honesty, and coming together. Maybe people will stand up for what’s right, and insist on being heard. Maybe it won’t matter who is the president, because maybe it will still be “We the people…” that decide where this country is going. So I put aside all of my typical “reasonable” arguments about why nothing will change, and why I shouldn’t allow my hopes to rise–at least for the day. After all, there is hope, and there are many things to be thankful for here.
- Clean air
- Government aid for the needy
- Equality (not suppression) for women
- Consistent and enforced laws
- Abundance of resources
- Opportunities for job advancement and education
- Free public education
- Social pressure against abuse, rape, pedophilia, racism, etc
- A stable constitution and government
We truly are blessed! I know some of you are ready to debate me on this list. Of course nothing is purely good, or without abuse or corruption. But I challenge you to decide, just for today, that you will allow your heart to hope and be thankful. Add to the list. Don’t squash the hope. It takes courage to let your heart swell. Be courageous!