On a day marked by overcast skies, the slight drip-dripping of rain, and a modest summer temperature hovering around 60 degrees, our family of three (four, counting Penny, our pup) celebrated our nation's independence. I often forget the many freedoms that Americans are privileged to live out in a relatively safe environment, and yet today, as I pondered graphic news headlines - brimming with violence (both near and far) set against the gray clouds overhead, a sort of juxtaposition of sea/sky, freedom/slavery, light/dark came to mind. We are so privileged to live in the United States, to have access to clean water, to have rights as citizens to vote, to work for a better life, to do business in a free market economy, to eat good food (or not so good food), and to be safe. Perhaps in theory all of these things are black and white, and how each person is able to live out these freedoms lies in shades of gray.
Regardless, I believe that I am truly blessed to be an American citizen, to live in a country that was founded on great ideas. A country that many soldiers have risked their lives defending. A country that still allows religious freedom, for the most part. So many people around the world are fighting to survive - not just thrive, as I consider myself able to do as an American citizen. Today, as I enjoyed a lovely brunch with my sweet family, and then a long walk along the inlet, I was reminded of what a blessing it is to be free.
I've always loved this song, as it reminds me of the freedom we have. Praise God.
"America the Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates
United Methodist Hymnal, 1989
for amber waves of grain;
for purple mountain majesties
above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
and crown thy good with brotherhood
from sea to shining sea.
O beautiful for heroes proved
in liberating strife,
who more than self their country loved,
and mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
till all success be nobleness,
and every gain divine.
O beautiful for patriot dream
that sees beyond the years
thine alabaster cities gleam,
undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
confirm thy soul in self-control,
thy liberty in law.