Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Freedom Rings

The Fourth of July is for lovers. Don't let Cupid fool you, Valentine's Day has nothing on Independence Day when it comes to expressing and celebrating love. If you need proof just take a look around during a fireworks display. Starry eyed couples are always holding hands and cuddling on picnic blanket. For love birds, fireworks ignite a free pass to embrace public displays of affection.  But the Independence Day love feast begins long before the sun goes down and the fireworks go off.
Family love begins at sunrise on the Fourth of July. Growing up I remember my whole family gathering together for morning breakfasts at the beach. Dozens of eggs and sizzling bacon were prepared over a charcoal fire to accompany freshly baked blueberry muffins and juicy watermelon slices. In the afternoons hours were spent hunting for beach glass, building sand castles and playing games of catch with a classic Velcro ball and paddles set.
Woven into the heart of Independence Day and its traditions are unity, togetherness and love - love of family, love of God and love of country.

Over the past six years as my health has declined so has my participation in the traditional Fourth of July celebrations. Gone are firework displays enjoyed in the arms of love and on a blanket of companionship.With illness as my mate I spend most every holiday, Fourth of July included, at home in bed by nine. Even the family breakfast picnics have become relics of my past. Thanks to my body's inability to regulate heat a day at the beach is now a sandy torture chamber. So while the rest of my family eats with their toes in the sand I stay home.
All of the observances that used to define my Fourth of July are gone and for years I've mourned the loss. For years I have cried over being alone in bed instead of snuggled up next to someone special for a dazzling fireworks display. I have fought against loneliness while my family has driven off to the beach for the annual July Fourth breakfast.
Sickness has taken away my Fourth of July traditions but it has not and cannot take away the true reason to celebrate on Independence Day. Love of Freedom.
This Independence Day I am celebrating because I am free. I am giving thanks because men and women have scarified their lives to protect my freedoms. I am celebrating the gift of this beautiful nation where I am free to worship boldly and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ without fear or shame.
On this July Fourth I rejoicing in the the true reason for Independence Day: the love, and the gift, of freedom.

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