As we approach Independence Day, I wonder what we as individual citizens could do to recognize and renew the significance of the meaning of the July 4th holiday. Many of us spend time with family and friends at backyard barbecues, at the beach or the mountains watching fireworks. Still others celebrate the day by taking advantage of the sales of almost everything available on that day. One could argue that doing any one of these things demonstrates an aspect of the meaning of freedom. After all, in some countries the simple act of congregating is illegal. In other places it is just too dangerous.

 

I wonder how our culture’s values and behaviors might be impacted if we chose to be “other focused” on July 4th instead of “self-focused”.

 

What would it be like if just for a day

while with family and friends we honored those who have gone before us

to make these freedoms possible?

What would it be like if just for a day

our behavior reflected a deep appreciate for the differences among us that frame our country,

instead of criticizing those differences?

What would be like if just for a day clergy from divergent faiths came together specifically to share

and learn about the many ways different faiths profess the same beliefs?

What would it be like if just for a day we listened for understanding instead of just waiting for the pause so we could tell others why and how they are wrong?

What would it be like if just for a day elected officials decided to make decisions based on what is best for the electorate instead of what is right for the Party?

What would it be like if just for a day each of us used our courage to speak up to right a wrong instead of staying silent because silence is easier?

What would it be like if just for a day

we each embodied the meaning of the Zulu proverb UBUNTU?

Translation- I am because we are. We are because I am.

What would it be like if just for a day each of us owned our responsibility to the world’s community by valuing our own village?

What would it be like if just for a day

all Americans reflected on the freedoms of being American?

 

I wonder about the real responsibility of freedom. I wonder…

 

©Lenora Billings-Harris 2012