What Independence Day Means to Me

Most of you don’t know this, but July 4th is my birthday.  It’s always sort of a bittersweet day for me really.  On one hand it’s Independence Day and there is so much to celebrate, but on the other hand I am getting 1 year older.  Now I understand that a lot of you won’t be showing me any grace because I’m still in my low 30’s, but youth is just so precious to me and the time is flyin by, especially after we had our kid.  I know it’s not Thanksgiving, but the past year has been so revealing to me in all facets of my life and I just have so much to be thankful for.  From my job, to my marriage, to my precious little angel of a daughter, life is grand and I am grateful.

I’ve always tried to live with the future constantly in the back of my mind.  What will the new job be, where will my daughter go to school, should we move, the questions that run through my mind are endless.  Don’t get me wrong it’s not bad to be prepared for the future but the way we, and especially myself, can just worry ourselves sick about things we can’t control is crazy.  Even in the thick of the everyday craziness that is life I have recently tried to remember to give thanks, because on that day in that specific moment I’ve got work, I’m doing what I love, I’m healthy, my family loves me, I’ve got food in my stomach, and there are no bills that need to be paid at that very second.  I can be thankful for all of these things because of the country we live in.

We are the richest nation in the world thanks to the men who came before us and stood up for what they believed to be true and right.  It’s amazing to think of all the brave lives that have been lost that fought so honorably and proudly so that we can be free to do what we please when we please.  In a time where Christians are killed for their beliefs, or women still can’t exercise their right to vote in some countries, here we throw away excess of what some people kill each other for everyday.  It’s weird to remember that I felt most patriotic in the days that followed 9/11, and what a shame that it took tragedy and lives lost to feel that sense of country and duty.

I’ve decided that I am going to change that starting today.  Every time I see the stars and stripes flying I am going to give thanks to the almighty that I was lucky enough to be born in the greatest country the world has ever known.  The men and women who came here long before us believed that it was great enough to fight and die for so why should I feel any different?  Just as Christians are not ashamed of the gospel, I am not ashamed of our flag and I believe that we still live in a great country, and with a little love, grace and mercy for one another all of us can find our way back to that undying passion everyday we all feel for each other and America after tragedy strikes.  I refuse to wait for another catastrophe or act of terrorism to feel that sense of pride.  So this July 4th when you see our beautiful flag waving in the gentle breeze, or the kids running around with sparklers, or just enjoying your time grilling with the family, remember the sacrifice of the many who believed you were worth fighting for…

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” – Thomas Jefferson (The Declaration of Independence)