Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independently dependent

As I scratch the mosquito bites on my ankle once again, I continue to reflect on their source.

(*Side note: “OFF” only makes you sticky, smell like old lady perfume and weed killer, and does not work! – Author’s Opinion)

Recently, one of my favorite holidays has become the observation of Independence Day; July 4th to be exact. In the good old U.S. of A. we gather with food, fun, and fellowship and a robust celebration. Often involving block parties, parades, and potlucks; we gather, we cheer, and we bond.

The highlight of the festivities reaches apogee at the onset of dusk, as fireworks both public and private light the night sky. A friend observed how ironic it is that we celebrate our independence by simulating a war. It is kind of like celebrating weight loss by dressing up as a Twinkie. Interesting.

I still love the entire kit and kaboodle though. As I started the day, I enjoyed the walk up the street to the parade route. The parade in our community is quite the spectacle. It is a continual string of our veterans, local schools, cub scouts and cheerleaders, musical performances, floats, and a colorful mix of pretty much anything with legs and wheels. There is also a lot of red, white, and blue to be seen as well.

The day starts with a friends’ house becoming the hub of activity among our circle of friends, some close, some on the distant social fringe. People share the most precious gifts with one another: the company of their loved ones, recipes passed down from the matriarchs in their family, their time, their joy.

As the day progressed, people dispersed for power naps, other festive obligations, and simple leisurely reclining in the shade somewhere. The celebration is lengthy, so one may need to recharge at some point; some more so than others if inspired by an abundance of Bloody Marys.

In my down time and leading into the evening’s festivities I reflected on my observation of Independence Day. I am independent, but I am also dependent.

Truly I am thankful for the ongoing efforts of those who allow me the right to live as I do, where I do, and to not be living among rubble, oppression, and flying ordnance. In the grand scheme of things, as the universe blew on the proverbial Dandelion seeds allowing them to fly then land as they may, I am so thankful, I took root where I did. But I also looked at what nourishes me; what I am dependent on.

Now I am not talking “dependent” as if my life would be “lesser” without them, or “who I am” is dependent on them, but the things that nourish my soul, and that which I am grateful for.

My loved ones. Not just the people in my gene pool, but my friends, my friend’s friends, and those I have yet to meet. As I swam in the sea of people celebrating patriotically, I realized, they are all my family, and I love them all, the Americans as well as those enjoying the fruits of our land.

I have always believed Norman Rockwell had a hand in developing the community where we live. I am blessed not only with the aesthetic beauty of my surroundings, but the care those who are my neighbors share. It is not as much prideful, but done out of love. It is lush, mature, and green. Parks are prolific, and the sense of community prevails year round. In retrospect, I realize I have been able to find these qualities in many of the places I have lived if I take the inventory with the proper perspective.

My ability to become. Not just to “be” but “become” is what I am also thankful for. Opportunity flourishes in the absence of oppression, and for those keeping watch at the door, I salute you. I admire that the greatest gift we often extend to others is a chance... even if it is a chance to fail. Some in this world are told who and what they will be from their first breath, and their path is paved for them. I would rather carve my own way through a jungle following my own hearts navigation, than to follow the blacktop laid down by another for me.

Collectively the fact that I can even share these thoughts with you, and that I could even expand into sharing my spiritual or religious views with anyone in a public forum is a monumental blessing in itself. With that, the fact that we could disagree, publically display our views, and display flags, colors, and icons of our choice is amazing in and of itself. Once again I profess my thanks to those who fight under our flag often times for the rights of those who do not always choose to observe it, and their right to that opinion.

I guess I have become dependent on these things, these principles. It is our independence that provides me with the ability to become dependent on them. I am thankful for both. I try to not let this sentiment be observed only once per year.

So eat, drink, and be merry fellow Americans and invited guests! Prepare your “Ooooo’s” and “Ahhhh’s” for the holiday’s pyrotechnic performances. Don’t forget to extend a little thanks, a nod, and a fist bump to those who helped you obtain the right to wear that goofy star-spangled outfit. Lastly, choose your insect repellant wisely!

Repost from Artisan of the Human Spirit