It’s July 4th, 2021. We’re a tired people who have so much more to our history than we learned in high school. Our nation needs all of us to rediscover that being a people takes work. We must celebrate both the ideals that made our country what it is to the world, and work to make it more like the ideal everyone hopes it is. Being a patriot of this country does not mean ignoring flaws, faults, sins and errors. Parents love their children irrespective of their flaws, faults, sins and errors. God likewise loves all of His children. We are both the parents and children of this nation, those who dream of what it could be, and work with all the ways in which it fails on a regular basis to live up to the promise found in our nation’s founding dream.
Fireworks are a good example of how we do both the parent and child role with our nation. We love them. We also know there are necessary limits on these things. Fireworks are fun and joyous and dangerous and loud. They light up the world and draw attention, they also startle and spook and sometimes injure unintentionally. So also is all the work we do and keep doing, trying to flesh out this reality.
We want a world, a nation that protects all the people, that serves all the people. To do this, we must do more than what is just to make repairs for past injustice. We must be somehow able to love the people on the other side of the political aisle at the end of the day. That won’t happen from politics or the news, it will happen from each of us doing the hard work of seeing that everyone we see, whether they voted for who we voted for or didn’t, or didn’t vote, as a fellow human being that we would protect, we would serve, we would want to see protected and served by the laws of our country. It’s really hard but it’s impossible when our hearts are hardened.
So spend today giving thanks, celebrating that we aspire to be something beyond what we are, and tomorrow, roll up your sleeves and get to the work of it.
Need ideas on what to do?
1) Register to vote if you haven’t.
2) Spend time this year becoming educated about the issues in your area. (local, county, state and federal).
3) Volunteer with something.
4) Read our founding documents.
5) Write a letter of support to our troops.
6) Study our history.
7) Visit a historical battle field.
8) Write your congressman about something you care about.
9) Consider running for office.
10) Pray for our nation.
These are just the top ten I can think of as there are fireworks going on in the parks near by, and we watch Hamilton as a family after having gone to mass, held a cook out and traveled to Gettysburg to remember something of our nation’s history. If we learn to be the more we want our country to be, our country will be more than it has been.