Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy birthday, America

This morning I’m gazing across an orange grove as I read my Bible and scribble prayers in my journal. Today I want to remember to thank God and praise him as I go about my day. It shouldn’t be too hard, I think. Duane and I took advantage of the short school week to head north on a mini-vacation. We found a little inn known for fabulous breakfasts, and so this morning I’m sitting on our private balcony listening to worship music and feeling the breezes as remember all the things I have to be thankful for, all the things I can praise God for.

I look beyond the orange groves to the tractor on the hill, and I watch the workers as they gather around it in the morning coolness. It’s the Fourth of July, but growing things requires daily effort.  I think of the farmers and the farms across our nation, and I begin to remember the many fields I’ve seen trekking across the country on road trips. I’m a city girl at heart, or at least a pretty dedicated suburbanite, but I still see beauty in open spaces and farmland.

Sometimes, when I’m traveling in those open spaces, I see abandoned barns and houses. The wood is gray and worn, walls are missing. Trees grow up around these old houses.  Trees the original farmers planted so their children and children could enjoy fruit and shade and beauty—trees whose fruit, shade, and beauty they probably never enjoyed.

I am always grateful for these original pioneers who ventured into the unknown, who paved the way for my own family to head west. 

I think of them now as I gaze across the farmland in front of me, and I think of all the pioneers who risked the lives they knew to create new lives in new lands. America is a land built by pioneers--men, women, and children who saw what could be and made it happen. Many of them never saw the fruit of their labors, but they did it anyway. They did it for us, and I am grateful.

·         I am grateful for colonists who came into an unknown and inhospitable land. 
·         I am grateful men, women, and children who inched their way west, some to see new things, some to strike it rich, some to build new lives.
·         I am grateful for farmers, slave and free, who strengthened this country by working the land and feeding America.
·         I am grateful for abolitionists who said no one should be held captive.
·         I am grateful women who marched in the streets, advocating for the right to vote, to learn, to be taken seriously.  
·         I am grateful for civil rights activists who saw injustice and risked their lives and their reputations so that everyone could take advantage of the opportunities in this land.
·         I am grateful I am grateful for the many soldiers, firemen, and law enforcement personnel who have sacrificed their lives for our safety and security. 

I am grateful for these Americans who saw the future and gave their lives for all of us.  

Happy birthday, America! You have beautiful children. 

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