Happy Independence Day! I prefer Independence Day to 4th of July because the latter is really just a date. Independence Day evokes SO much more feeling. I never really understood what it was all about until I became an adult with babies of my own and I realized how much I, how much we all, have to lose, all the freedoms we take for granted. I am so very grateful for all of our military men and women who have fought and especially for the many that have died for those freedoms!
But have you ever thought that we (yes, you and I) fight for freedom everyday? We do. Freedom from a shameful past or a miserable future; freedom from addictions to drugs, alcohol, food, money, sex, etc., etc., etc.; freedom from illnesses - physical or mental; freedom from the negative thoughts, fueled by society, that constantly bring us down. Our weapons to fight this personalized "War of Independence"? Roots, wings, and faith.
Those of you who were at my wedding nine and a half years ago might remember the short homily that our pastor gave. She quoted one of her favorite authors (whose name I can't remember so if you recognize the saying, feel free to post a comment and let me know who it was) who said something to the effect of: the best gifts a parent can give their children are roots and wings. Roots will keep them grounded - help them remember who they are and where they came from. But here's the thing: have you ever noticed the older a tree gets, the deeper and stronger their roots are? Maybe it's because they NEED their roots more and more. Chris, the girls, and I just got back from visiting my step mom in East Tennessee. She thought, after reading my last post, that I might like to read more of my own poems and short stories that she had saved throughout the years and I thought I'd share a poem with you that I wrote when I was 13-years-old. Like the others that my friends from Ohio told me about, I don't remember writing this and now, 19 years later, it strikes me as very profound. So, here is a sample of my roots (at least as far as writing is concerned):
Two Lonesome Doves
The darkness was overwhelming, but the night was oh so clear.
As the birds cried above, the sound of water was all you could hear.
Jenny sat on the beach by herself, listening and loving where she was at.
When out of the sky flew a dove, and beside her it sat.
Jenny looked at the poor bird, she thought it looked so sad.
She could see what the dove felt, and that made her feel bad.
The bird was feeling lonely, how did she know?
The second weapon I mentioned is wings. Wings take you places, lift you up, and make you soar! Think about it: where would we be today without those individuals who have taken the leap of faith and soared to new heights in our medical and technology fields. Raise your hand if you can remember life withOUT the microwave. And now we could practically activate our microwaves from our cell phones or iPods or, hey, why not go with both and use our iPhones! Is it always a good thing, the head spinning rate that we're advancing? I don't know. It seems old-fashioned letter writing has gone the way of the woolly mammoth, and to me that's sad. But it is important to have a dream just like the colonists did 232+ years ago, and it's equally important for everyone to do our part to make this great country a better place. So whether it's finding a cure for cancer or simply helping a little old lady with her groceries at the Piggly Wiggly down the street, just spread those wings and fly!
The last weapon that I mentioned was not mentioned by the author as one of the greatest gifts you could give your child, and I wonder why. As a teacher, I can attest to what probably all of you already know, that WE NEED FAITH! I'm so grateful that I was raised in a Christian home. I know it must not have been easy to get four girls out the door in the mornings, but my mom diligently made sure my sisters and I were in Sunday school and church almost every Sunday. If I haven't thanked you for that before, Mom, thanks! And now that I'm a mother, I feel a level of satisfaction I've never known to be able to give my girls a Christian education in addition to being active in our church. The thing is that there is so much unexplainable yuck in this world that I don't know how a kid can cope without the hope found in the promises of the Christian faith. What's really cool about the weapon of faith is that when it's applied to a difficult situation, it's multiplied exponentially (thus my equation: roots + wings x faith = independence). Look at what it says in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 "We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing." Isn't that cool?
General George Washington, our country's first commander-in-chief, led an army of ill-equipped farmers, many of whom trudged through snow-covered countryside with holes in the soles of their shoes so bad that their feet were left exposed in the bitter cold, into battle. Not only did they fight the British but they fought diseases such as small pox and scurvy. Seemingly impossible odds? Yes, but I personally believe that they had three very powerful weapons (in addition to their guns and cannons of course!) - roots, wings, and faith.