I’ll be honest…I’m not looking very patriotic or fourth of july-esque today. I sit here wearing a purple shirt with khaki shorts – only a couple flags in the world actually contain the color purple…so at least I’m pretty neutral. I don’t even have a flag like a couple of my neighbors. Little mister and the hubby are wearing an absence of red, white and blue as well – ooops.
However, despite our lack of appropriate celebratory attire, I am thankful for this day. And not just for the day off work or the firework celebrations. It is an incredible privilege I have to live where I do. I did not choose to be born in the USA, but I was. I didn’t choose to be raised in place where I have never needed to fear for my life over what I wear, say, think, believe, profession I choose or who I want to marry…but I was.
As a woman I can vote, drive, work (in whichever field I choose), advance professionally, go about as I please, play sports, and receive an education – as far as I want to take it, among other things.
As a follower of Jesus, a Christian, I can worship when I want, where I want, with whoever I want, how I want…AND I can tell other people about Jesus freely. I can also work in Christian ministry and not worry about being thrown in jail, persecuted (harassed and taunted maybe but really persecuted, no), or executed.
I don’t take these privileges lightly. I am deeply grateful for those who have sacrificed to assure me these privileges over the past few hundred years to the present. Wives who have parented children alone while their husbands served (and still do) overseas, some never coming back…men voluntarily choosing to put their lives at risk to defend mine…men who would have preferred to live a normal life, instead drafted and then served with honor and bravery.
I know our nation’s history is not without its stains, scars, imperfections and bad decisions. And often I am concerned about the state of the nation and it’s direction on a number of levels. I’m aware of current injustices, wrongdoings, failures and divisions. But today I step back from the negatives that are too easy to focus on at times and I am thankful.
Thankful for the privilege of living here, of being raised here, of the freedoms that I am afforded by virtue of location and citizenship. Thankful for great friends, neighbors and communities. Thankful for a sleeping babe that had not stirred since the celebrations began. Thankful for the sunshine and summer nights. Thankful…
Happy fourth of July!