Monday, July 5, 2010

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Happy Independence Day! How did you celebrate America's 234th birthday? Were you able to catch some fireworks or find a grill with burgers or hot dogs? I hope you enjoyed time with family and/or friends on this holiday weekend.

I recently saw a quote that contrasted the U.S.'s behavior on its birthday with other countries on theirs (and I'm paraphrasing): some countries mark their national anniversary with armies marching on display before their president and leaders; Americans celebrate Independence Day with family picnics, children's parades, and fireworks.

I like the sentiment expressed in that quote, that America's values lie more in family, freedom, and fun (thinking of the more wholesome sort) than in flexing our military muscles. Perhaps the author was reflecting on these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men 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.

 We spent our 4th with dear friends who were visiting from the East Coast. They were tickled to experience a real "down-home" Texas celebration. Our church hosted a party at a nearby ranch, under an immense pole barn, complete with burgers and 'dogs, chips, drinks, cotton candy and popcorn, a jump house, volleyball and water balloon games, face painting, a hay ride, and lastly of course, the fireworks. Many of you blog followers were there, too!

My favorite moment came while watching fireworks crackle and boom overhead, cradling my 5-month-old as he drifted to sleep, listening to worship songs blaring through the speakers, smiling at my 4-year-old as she skipped and danced with her glow stick swishing like a light saber (I'm sure that's what she thought it was). There was peace. There was contentment.

There was happiness.

And while I know that happiness is not the end all, be all, I am grateful for the opportunity to experience it. To my grandfather, father, uncle and friends who served or are serving still in the armed forces--thank you. To my husband who is seeking to serve as an Army chaplain--I'm proud of you. To the Creator who planned for me to live in this place, at this time--I'm grateful.

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