Independence Day. Aside from the seriously cool movie featuring Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith, Independence day is that “kinda kicked back holiday” known for hot weather, cold beer, stuff that blows up in the sky and …. well, independence. Throw in a beach or a lake and it’s a party. But what does it mean to you?
Here in my office, I have a book that existed long before ISBN numbers were ever thought of. My house has been here for nearly 160 years of this great countries history…and I am sure the first owners wondered why the skunk in the neighborhood decided to live under their porch, too. But I digress into the fun of living amid your own in town forest. This book tells this history of the Civil War from just months after it happened. It’s amazing how much we once valued this day…so much that we went to war with ourselves over the state’s rights to govern, to be independent of the federal government. That’s a lot of lives and pain at stake here on the grounds that we call home. In that time, my house has seen every major headline from “President Lincoln Assassinated” to “President Obama Elected.”
From here to there, what have we learned? I often wish my walls could tell me all that they have seen…or the PG version of it. Independence. It means so much to me. I am free to love, to be, to give all that I have, to become anything that I can imagine or dream. It’s not my right, it’s my possibility. The only thing that is guaranteed me is the pursuit of happiness. That requires work on my part. Maybe there is a responsibility that comes with being independent?
Independence to do….what? What does it mean to you that you would defend your freedom? We value it so highly, this is what we strip from individuals who break our laws…freedom. What would it look like if you didn’t have you’re democratic right to read this article, or to close your browser window now? How about your right to have a home or computer, your right to reproduce, your right to be equal as a male or female as you walk down the street? What does independence mean to you?
As you ponder those questions, think about working through these four great ways to show your appreciation to the country that you love.
1. Consider adopting a solider. Adopt a US Soldier is a non profit organization that supports our men and women in the armed forces. As a former Army solider, I can honestly say that letters and packages from home mean a lot to these folks in harms way.
2. Attend a farmer’s market or local artisan’s show. Do you have any idea how important the cottage industry is to the US economy? On top of having an amazing adventure, you’ll be supporting your local economy, not some mega box soulless retailer that doesn’t care if you’re breathing as long as you’re paying. Kick it up a notch if you’re a city person by taking your kids to a U-Pick-It lot for berries, vegetables, anything. Get out in the air and breathe! Take those veggies home, balance them out with lean meats and watch the love flow.
3. Attend the local celebration of a veterans’ memorial or flag service with your family. That’s right, it’s an opportunity to show respect to the people that came before you, even if you don’t agree with how it all came down. Go say hello, participate, say thank you. If there is nothing like that near you, contact a local firehouse and bake some/buy some excellent cookies for the men and women that protect you day in and out from other types of fire -work. The firefighters that I know are amazing people.
4. Be the voice of love. If anyone you know if going a little to far into the beverages, is having a tough moment from emotional or financial problems, or has no one to call their own…be the voice of love. Come alongside someone and be the person who has a willing, confidential ear, a cold soda and can throw an extra burger (or tofu) on the grill. Think about the people in your life that you can bless with companionship and community where there may be none.
I am declaring my own Independence this Monday, July 4. It’s been a really rocky year for me, a hard time of grief and of letting go. I’ve been to the waters of hell and back…and this July 4, and I am going to celebrate my personal freedom over the journey. I am ready to just be Alison again, that fun loving crazy girl that laughs, makes amazing food and has a passion for life that no sorrow can put out. Maybe that is your call on this independence day, to declare yourself individual, ready and alive. It’s the first day of forever, beloved. I’m glad you’re with me on the journey.
Off the emotional healing and back to the reality of the firecracker holiday…..your local hospital and police officers would like you to know the following.
- No drinking and driving. It’s not only illegal, it’s stupid.
- Don’t play with lit firecrackers, it’s not funny.
- Bottle rockets are not meant to be shot at your brother/sister/person.
- Read the labels before you strike the match.
- And from me…..Be the friend you always wanted to have.