Residents of the United States of America have much to be thankful for this 4th of July 2011. First and foremost is that we are a free nation and that our freedom is assured by the brave members of our Military who as I type this article, and hopefully you are reading it, sacrifice their very…lives.
Besides the current military members there are those to served previously in Vietnam who sadly remain underappreciated as their sacrifice was equal to, or maybe even greater, than others who came before them and after.
During these Holidays, like I do everyday, I think of each of my children. I recall the very moment I found out I would be a Father. I think about all the trips to the OBGYN and all of the scans and the hopes and the dreams. I think about preparing the space for the baby and the prayers each parent makes. I think about the anticipation of the birth and I think about the blessing of being there to see them enter into this World. I so love each of them and I, like many parents, want only the best for them. The mistakes I made, both as parent and as a man and as a husband and an son and an in-law, I take ownership of and I am now and forever…truly sorry. I cherish the memories made with each of my children and I pray to God for many more memories with each of them and most of all just being a positive part of their lives.
Somedays I see the love of a parent in the grocery store or by seeing a Grandparent holding their hand just taking a walk. Other days I have seen the worried faces of parents whose children, from newborns to adults, are undergoing life saving treatment in the Hospital. Recently I have also seen the tears streaming down the faces of parents whose children died. At the time I was in the midst of feeling “sorry” for myself and then I saw those tears and the sounds coming from the very soul of the parent struggling to be heard from their broken heart via their throat. Though I could do nothing I thanked God that I was not the one having to deal with the nightmare that became, for whatever reason(s), a…reality. I also thought about how precious life is and how short and most of all how it truly is a gift derrived from God and all the Darwin minions can never deflect these facts.
I often think about the hardships of parents, including single mothers and/or single fathers, who are away from their children either by their work – their legal situation – or other reasons. For every smiling face, that each of us see online or on TV or in person there are just as many faces that are worried about; their children, paying the mortgage, paying the rent, finding a job, losing a job, putting food on the table, their children’s education, illness, having to help a family member or a friend, and other obstacles that jump around in ones psyche.
It is my solemn hope, and prayer, that on this special day of July 4th 2011 that we pause to be thankful for what we have regardless of if it is physically right before us or not. God does not make mistakes and we are each apart of one another’s lives for a reason. And, if you think that things cannot get worse then you are (with all due respect) mistaken because it can and it does. The good news is that we are alive and we love and we hurt and we mourn and that each day brings new opportunities. All the worry in the World never altered what is meant to be. A confirming point of this was made clear by one of the Founding Fathers who learned of the passing of George Washington and their response, after hearing the words of “how can we ever go on without him”, immediately responded with “the cemeteries are filled with men who were thought to be irreplaceable”. Those founding Fathers were not only wise but, in this case, were not apt to mince words.
I wish everyone near, far, and otherwise a; wonderful, healthy, happy, memorable, blessed, and joy filled 4th of July 2011. Most of all I wish everyone, for each day hereafter, good health and happiness and peace. May God bless us all and may our gaze, and our thoughts, not be limited to the explosion of fireworks but in accepting that the heavens lie far above the reach of man and that those standing next to us and/or residing in our hearts are what is truly special about the Holidays (and everyday) and not the pageantry of the moment.