It’s been such an odd weather year in St. Louis (and elsewhere), that it hardly seems that summer has begun. Yet, the fourth of July is nearly upon us. Hopefully the rain will enable a few safe celebrations ahead with family and friends for all.
The fourth of July is a time to celebrate the freedom in our country. The freedom that so many of us, myself first on the list, often take for granted.
We are a free nation. And while fifty percent of us disagree with whoever is in political office, we are still free to exercise our voice. I met a young woman from Bulgaria over the weekend who told me she had yearned to attend the camp she and my son were enjoying this year, but had not been able to obtain a visa for the two years prior. To send my son Andrew, all I had to do was write a check.
To camp or not camp is hardly worth dying for. But it is one of the many decisions, from how to educate our children to whether we can or will own property which, we have the right to decide, primarily because someone did die for our choice. Take an extra moment this weekend to thank those who have served and continue to serve for us.
There are many organizations that send cards to active service men. Others that send care packages to troops. These are easily accessible, and help let service men and women know that someone is thinking about them. Consider passing out small gift cards, even in 5.00 increments at the airport or restaurants to those you see in uniform. At very least, openly express your thanks. Each time I do this (which is not often enough); I’m met with enormous gratitude. It should be the other way around. Whether or not you agree with wars we fight, it is always appropriate to appreciate those who are putting their lives on the line. They are the ones making a sacrifice to fulfill decisions made by the politicians you may or may not agree with.
And how about internal freedom? Are you living a life free to enjoy who and what is around you? Or have you bound yourself by arbitrary rules that keep you confined to a routine, a rut, an outdated self- perception of yourself? Worse still, are you condemned by an outdated perception that you believe someone else decided for you?
How about lighting a sparkler or two this year and taking a moment to celebrate with gratitude the life that is yours? Even if you are not living exactly as you hope to at this moment, consider gratitude for the fact that you have the option to hope, dream and make changes to get you to where you would like to be. Happy Independence Day.