Independence Day. July 4th. For many, today is synonymous with backyard barbecues and fireworks. And drinking…
I’m sure there are at least some patriotic souls in this great country of ours that reflect on the meaning of this holiday. Or at the very least remember why we should celebrate it. But I have to wonder how many people are refusing to even acknowledge the day out of protest against recent events.
I have to wonder how many people will stamp their feet and take their toys and go home because things are so God-awful bad. Because life is so hard. Because they didn’t get their way.
**Disclaimer** I fully acknowledge that there are many people suffering in this country. Lack is alive and well throughout the whole world. I would never make light of people in pain.
But see here’s the thing, a lot of the ‘suffering’ we experience is most often self-induced, can be avoided, and is nothing compared to other people’s in other countries. The lack that we claim to have is more like we’re not getting everything we want, but certainly have everything we need to live happy, productive lives.
But let’s forget about everyone else for a minute. After all, we’re not responsible for anyone else or their happiness. And comparing ourselves and our lives to others is one of the quickest ways I know to become discontent and bitter. When things are going wrong it always seems like everyone else has it better, easier. It seems like there is no one else on this God-forsaken planet who could have it worse.
Of course, that’s what we want to believe. It’s very difficult to throw a pity party for ourselves if we dare to think someone might have it worse. It’s also hard to get anyone else to attend unless we exaggerate a bit…
We focus so much on what we don’t have. We worry so much about what other people are doing – or not doing – that offends us. We forget that we have the power to change how we view our lives. All we have to do is tilt our heads…
So, on this great holiday, this holiday that is about as American as you can get, how about we focus on what we do have. The freedom – right? – to spend time with our families, perhaps eat some great food and drink our beverage of choice, and take a minute to reflect on the fact that 242 years ago some very brave men and women took the steps necessary to break away from everything they had ever known.
It wasn’t easy and they sure did some dumb stuff along the way, but I can’t help but be thankful that they had the strength, fortitude, and foresight to do what needed to be done. It is that type of person that will see this country through these turbulent times to make sure our children and children’s children will still be able to celebrate Independence Day for years to come.