Happy "Independence" Day

It's the Fourth of July and as an American I celebrate it as the birth of our country (though I did learn a few years ago on a trip to Philadelphia, that the "Declaration of Independence" was actually signed on July 2nd). For many this means a day off work filled with cookouts, a weekend at the beach (or the mountains), or time at the pool. Sparklers will burn and those stocked up on illegal fireworks from South Carolina will have a great time setting them off (we used ours up at New Years).

I wonder though, do I really appreciate our freedom here? I hear lots of grumbling about government and its overreaching power, its weakness, and its failures. I hear a fair amount of  "this country is headed to hell in a handbasket".

What would happen if we decided we would spend one week with a positive outlook? Not sticking our heads in the sand over the real problems that exist, but looking for the good things and building on them?

What if we realized that saying "under God" or not saying "under God" isn't the problem - but the fact that for many people the Pledge of Allegiance has become a rote saying (like The Apostles Creed) that doesn't really mean anything because we don't really understand what it means.

What if we understood that making sure our money says "In God We Trust" isn't the solution, but what we choose to do with our money that will affect our communities?

Am I advocating that we stop saying "under God" or take off "In God We Trust"? No, but I am saying, let's make it mean something. So, for today (even I am not committing to a week - yet), I will be positive about our country. I will reflect on the Pledge of Allegiance and what does it really mean in my life. I will think about where I am spending my money and how it will benefit my community (yes, going to the grocery store benefits - it pays wages for all who work there) and try to make good choices.

Today is the 4th of July. Let's make it mean something more than a cookout and some sparklers.

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