Fourth of July is next week. Some of my kids are coming to visit. The oldest son has declared that he will be buying the fireworks this year. He is going to have a great fireworks show! He is going to buy the biggest, loudest fireworks they make and “light up the backyard!” I believe he is part pyromaniac. In his early teen years he decided to see how many matches it would take to melt a green plastic army man. His room smelled awful for days afterwards but the worst part is that when the little army man gave way from the oval base on which he stood, he fell on son’s arm leaving a nice puckered scar as a reminder that indeed green, plastic army men do melt.
I am not sure exactly how many matches were used in the experiment but we all survived and now he is coming for a visit to show the younger kids how a real fireworks show is done. Our number five is coming as well and I am praying that the house is standing at the end of the night. Number seven can’t wait for them to get here so they can blow things up!
Number six has invited her boyfriend and the “men” in her family are going to show him what a “real” fireworks show looks like while they give him the once over. At first the boyfriend was eager, but as the stories grow he is not as certain that he needs to meet two United States Marines who love to set things on fire and blow things up.
It should be a fun week with our house full of our kids and their friends as we celebrate our great country. I am eternally thankful that we can get together at will and celebrate. I am thankful that I can go to the grocery store and pick up loads of food to feed everyone. I am thankful that I live in the United States of America.
Sure we have some problems, and right now it seems as if our problems are bigger than our blessings but I would argue that they are not. There are still good, sane folks living in America who will help their neighbors or strangers. I know people who volunteer at the soup kitchens and I know people who volunteer at the homeless shelters. I know people who donate their time and money to send young men and women on missionary trips here and in other countries. I know people who serve at their churches, at the children’s homes, at kids’ camps, and at hospitals.
I know that philanthropy does not only happen in America but the important fact is that it is STILL going on here in America. We try to look outward and help others in less fortunate situations. Maybe we don’t always do it correctly but we still try. When there is a hurricane or other natural disaster, thousands give of their time and their resources to help those suffering. There are hundreds of non-profit organizations created every year to help different groups.
True, not every American will serve or help others, but I feel that most would and do. America is not perfect and not filled with perfect people but most of us try. Many of our systems are broken, but we, the people, do not have to be broken. I am not a system. I am a person and I can make a difference. I can still get up every morning with the goal of helping someone else. I can make someone smile. I can carry things or open doors or share what we have. I can encourage and hug and listen.
I can celebrate the birth of my country with my family. I can clap and scream as the fireworks burst overhead. I can be thankful for all of the men and women who have served so that we can pray at dinner and pray at the end of the night when the house is still standing.
I can’t do it all, but I can do my part and I am starting with a family get together on July 4th to celebrate our country and our family.
I hope you get to do the same.
Happy Fourth of July!