On Friday at noon as I left work, my thoughts raced toward meeting a friend for lunch and spending the weekend watching Wimbledon, gathering with friends for a cookout, and catching a fireworks show. But that was before I saw the motorcycle cop stop in the middle of the crazy four-street intersection, stopping traffic for a funeral procession to pass. Innumerable bikers followed, displaying flags from all over and reminding me that this funeral procession could be taking a soldier to his/her final resting place.
As I sat watching car after car pass through the intersection, I wondered at the occupants' thoughts. This probably wasn't how they had planned to kick off their holiday weekend. If they were anything like me, celebrating the lives of those who have fought for our country's freedom would have been reserved for a small moment of silence, rather than a prolonged service of remembrance. Because the cost of freedom is so hard to grasp, until it hits home. Just like everything else in life, we don't know what a great thing we've had, until it's gone.
I wish I didn't fall into that group. I wish I cherished everything in the present. I wish it didn't take losing someone or something to awaken my appreciation. But I guess if I had to pinpoint the problem for me it would be that I think things will, to some extent, stay the same. And when they don't, the change makes me realize what feelings I had toward the missing person or thing.
But I don't want to have to get to that point with the freedom that this country provides in order to see how priceless the freedom is. The mere thought of being told what job I can have; where I can live; when I can go to the doctor; what, when, and where I can worship, if at all; how many children I can have; and having a million other choices reduced to one, government-made decision should be enough to keep me grateful daily and turn every day into a celebration of independence. Yet, I know that come Monday, I'll get back into the weekly routine, and these thoughts will fade into the background, probably until another American holiday rolls around or until the news informs me that a freedom is on the line, pending in a case before the Supreme Court.
Those are my thoughts on freedom this July 4, but I'd love to hear from you with thoughts on how to keep my scenario from being repeated year after year. Do you make it a habit to pray for soldiers or have something that you do daily or weekly to remind you to give thanks for the freedom you have?