I love birthdays, New Years Day, Sundays and Anniversaries, changes of season that are official. They remind me that we can restart –begin again, and discard old habits and bad tendencies and start over. Yesterday, I turned 56, and the priest blessed me after mass. I pondered how long this past year was, with the surgery, the chemo and radiation, I’d lost all my hair, turning 56 suddenly felt like a feat, a closing of an unhappy but good chapter.
When my son needed open heart surgery, the surgeon said we would remember it as hopefully, only one bad day –and it is how I see it, how I remember it. Every day since has been a reset for him, with the infinite possibility of having a good day, or a day at all, that wasn’t there before.
One bad year collapsed into a good year, because it ended well, and so the memory of all of it, became like the one bad day. The End in mind (getting rid of cancer) made the process bearable and even, a non-event in my mind. The event is being free of it, not the enduring of the treatment.
So also, July 4th is a reminder to all of us, of what we aspire to be as a country. Our nation needs us to actively engage in living out the promise laid out and incompletely establish and maintained ever since. We will never get to the fullness of it, but we are called by the privilege of living in this country, to never cease trying. July 4th is the great reset for our nation, where we remember what we are aspiring to become, and hopefully decide to a person, to begin again at the work of rendering it more fully what we long for it to be.
The city on a hill cannot shine, if those who live there do not open the windows and doors and let in the light. Our Constitution proclaims to the world, the rights of all to be free, alive, and equal in the eyes of the law. For our country to live out that contract, everyone irrespective of their profession, level of education or economic status must acknowledge, maintain and preserve that contract. It is a worthwhile endeavor, not because of who we are or have been, but of who we could become.
Our history includes many sins, many times when we have failed and deliberately so, to live up to the promise of that contract, times when we’ve ignored it willingly. We are flawed, and yet, the aspirations of our Constitution, of our nation, is something we should strive to render into reality. No patriot should say, “My country right or wrong.” That sort of thinking turns a blind eye to both what we could be and what we have done. Instead, anyone who longs for something better expressed in policy, in our country and local communities, should celebrate today, and tomorrow, roll up the sleeves so to speak because we can do it to help make our country always to be just, and always to seek to become more so.
Photo by Johnathan Peterson at Pexels
Happy 4th of July! Have a hot dog, enjoy the fireworks, and let us begin the Great Reset.