One of the traditions I have each July 4th is to actually read the Declaration of Independence. It seems each year something different touches me at a core level.
This year reading it, the line reads
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’…
I know it sounds so familiar, perhaps so simple and indeed, even self-evident. But as I glance over this past six months I see this as a declaration of Interdependence.
I have been reading stories of the young people who have run away from their homes and families. Their hopes and dreams are to find someone who will care for them, love them only to end up on the streets of New York, or Austin or Anyplace USA. I am in awe at the work of Covenant House who open their doors and hearts to give these youth a chance to live Life, to experience Liberty and to dare to pursue Happiness.
I listen to teachers who spend hours working above and beyond what could realistically be expected of them. Their basic belief that ‘every child can learn’ if only they can comprehend the basics of learning keeps them focused on trying every method to bring about success.
I see men and women commit time and energy to organizations devoted to the welfare of people who simply need a little bit of support. They go out and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned. They stuff envelopes, keep accurate databases, organize fundraising events because they believe in the vision and mission of the organization they serve.
I see the devastation of the Boston Bombing, the destruction from tornados and floods and I see the people join together to help each other recover from these devastations.
We are a nation that proclaims the equality of all peoples and celebrate the unalienable Rights we share. So often it is the cry of humanity that takes us from Independence to the reality of our Interdependence. Together we make a difference in our cities, our country and the world.
A friend often says: ‘there is enough for everyone’. We need to stand in relationship with one another. We need to open our eyes and hearts to the graciousness that fills our lives. We need to pursue happiness with each other. And we need to celebrate with grateful hearts all that has gone into creating the life and liberty that is already ours.
As we celebrate July 4th, 2013 may we see, hear and acknowledge the Rights that make us one. They are divinely given for the sake of the world.