Before I dive into this post, I want to remind anyone reading of my comment policy. I always welcome constructive criticism, but please be kind.
I haven't felt much like celebrating America for a little over a year now. With all the things that have been happening in this country, it's made it difficult for me to feel proud to be an American. That's something that's hard to explain to some people because American pride is so ingrained in us from an early age.
If you're like me and are a part of one of the marginalized people groups in this country, it can often feel like America isn't even home. But, this is where I was born, and it is my home, and instead feeling saddened all the time at the state of our country, I want to take some time to share how you can celebrate, even if you don't necessarily feel like there's much to be celebrated.
1. Be Thankful for Service Men and Women
I have many family members, friends, and former mentors who have served or currently are serving in the military, and I am so incredibly thankful to and for them. Serving in the military is a sacrifice, whether you die in action or not. Service men and women give up time with their own families and loved ones to protect our freedoms, so we can safely spend time with our loved ones, and I am so grateful to them for that sacrifice and bravery. So I will be thinking of all Service Men and Women on Tuesday
2. Be Grateful for the Freedoms We Have in America
I may not always be proud to be an American, but I'm grateful that I'm free to express that. I'm grateful that I have to freedom to say that I'm dissatisfied with, or even grieved at the state of my country. I'm grateful that I get to worship Jesus Christ freely and openly, and that it's not a crime. There are many countries in the world where certain religions are outlawed, and where questioning/criticizing the government could mean jail time or death. So I'm thankful for the rights and freedoms that I have as an American citizen.
3. Be Mindful of the Work Still to be Done
There is still a lot of work to be done in America so that everyone can truly feel safe here. The rights of many law-abiding citizens are still being threatened, and that's not okay. So much reform is needed, and there is a lot that's wrong. But instead of being weighed down by all that's bad and wrong, I've decided to remember what's right and to work towards what's right every day. Progress is slow, but it will happen.
4. Be Hopeful for the Next Generation
There is always, always, ALWAYS hope that the next generation will do better than the previous one. No generation ever has or ever will get life completely right because mankind is not perfect. No matter what religion, spirituality, or philosophy you subscribe to, I think we can all agree that no one is perfect. But we can always have hope that the next generation will learn from our mistakes, learn what worked and what didn't, and that they'll strive to be better than the ones that came before them. It's like hoping your kids will be better off and happier than you were. I hope that the generation after mine is incredible and that they do amazing things, not just in America, but all over the world.
I hope this has been helpful or inspiring to someone out there. Please know that I am in no way saying that America is the worst country out there. No country gets it perfect because, again, humanity is not perfect. But I just wanted to say that, even with so many terrible things happening in the world, there is always something to be positive about and something good to hope for.
Have a Blessed Fourth of July!