Practices From the Inside Out: Celebrating Our Revolutionary Independence

Practices From the Inside Out: Celebrating Our Revolutionary Independence June 30, 2022

Practices From the Inside Out: Celebrating Our Revolutionary Independence

Celebrating Our Revolutionary Independence

Monday is the anniversary of the day 246 years ago when we declared our revolutionary independence.

Our nation began with a revolution. There was a war, but the revolution came first and it is what we celebrate. We began with a revolution in how we see ourselves.

Many of us will spend Monday grilling and eating, then blowing things up in the evening. Across the country most of us will celebrate our revolutionary independence the same ways everyone else does.

The time has come for us to pay attention to what our country is really all about. Our revolution was not about superior American firepower or financial success. We were not fighting to keep people from other parts of the world out of our country.

Our revolution is about recognizing we are independent and free to make decisions for ourselves.

Part of our challenge is we see Independence Day as something which happened a long time ago. We believe it is a holiday about all the people pictured on our money or who have statues somewhere. We tend not to think it is our responsibility, today, to be good examples of revolutionary independence.

Our national holiday is not just another day to take off work, even during the summer. It is not about parades, or fireworks, or grilling hot dogs.

We celebrate our revolutionary independence by putting it into practice.

The people who started our country spent months discussing and negotiating, compromising and working out their differences. The result of their work was a clear, compelling statement of where they stood and what they stood for.

How would those people feel if they could see our independence today?

Would they recognize the independent country they started?

Are there ways we can celebrate our revolutionary independence today?

How Will We Celebrate Our Revolutionary Independence?

I came by my own revolutionary independence honestly growing up in Wisconsin.

The people around me taught me being independent was valuable. Independent women and men stood on their own two feet, and nobody could tell them what to do or think. Each of us took the time to make up our own mind, and were not reluctant to give someone else a piece of it.

We were fiercely independent as we listened, spoke plainly, and stood up for what we decided was right.

I learned a great deal about revolutionary independence during long winters.

We understood being independent meant we could cope with things on our own. It was difficult to ask for help and, when we did, it was often from the people next door.

Being independent also means being ready to help other people. I learned to offer help before someone asked for it.

Though some things have changed, the value of revolutionary independence has shaped my life. Now we are more connected to each other, and to people around the world, than I could have imagined growing up. The people next door to whom I offer help now have often came from somewhere far away.

Sometimes it seems people are more focused on getting their fair share of benefits than they used to be.

I remember the lessons of those long winters, even here in a place of endless summer.

Remaining fiercely independent I am a registered nonpartisan voter, known in California as a “decline-to-state” voter.

Revolutionary independence carries joy and responsibility. It includes the satisfaction of being dependable and reliable. Revolutionary independence is not about controlling events, but about being able to keep going.

A Revolution in Celebrating Independence

How are we celebrating our revolutionary independence this year?

Where do we recognize revolutionary independence in the world around us now?

I remember when I saw being independent as an iconic American virtue. The revolutionary independence I learned so many years ago is reflected in many of the heroes of our American story.

Our story celebrates not only the revolutionary independence of our country, but what we share as people. The movies we make tell our story with countless examples of strong, solid heroes who remind us of our commitment to the rightness of our beliefs.

Our understanding of revolutionary independence is changing.

We recognize we depend on people all over the world. It is a challenge for us to be independent when we so obviously rely on others.

We are independent because we are each the true authority on our own core values and our own decisions about how to put our deepest selves into practice in the world.

I am independent because I am the only person who can be me in my own way. Each of us is surrounded by a unique network of love and support.

Steps Toward Revolutionary Independence Today

The people who started this country so many years ago did not simply declare independence and go home. They recognized being independent was not something we announce, but something we put into practice.

If they had not practiced revolutionary independence each day, they would not have been independent. Their declaration would have been a worthless piece of parchment.

Each of us must look for and find new ways to put our revolutionary independence into practice each day.

It must be more than something we assume we have, more than something we talk about. Our independence is more than who we follow on social media or the podcasts to which we subscribe.

We declare our own independence today, like every other day. Each of us has the freedom to make decisions for ourselves. We celebrate our radical, revolutionary independence in our everyday lives, or we do not celebrate it at all.

Some of us will practice being independent today by have a challenging, uncomfortable conversation we need to have. Others will ask questions which need to be asked.

Today is the day our own revolutions begin again and again, and again.

How will we celebrate our own revolutionary independence today?

What will help our independence be more revolutionary this year, or next year, that it was last year?

Image by timo_w2s]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual director in Southern California. He is a recovering assistant district attorney and associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is and his email address is

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