4th thoughts

I've never really liked the fourth of July ... well, mostly I've never enjoyed the whole blowing up of things to celebrate our independence concept. When I was little, we'd go to Allens Pond to watch the fireworks ... and I'd end up hiding under the blanket till they were over. In college and my single girl years in Portland, I'd go to the Blues Festival on the Waterfront with people to be socialable ... and enjoy the fireworks, but NOT the crowds! In later years, I'd spend the night of the 4th at home. But that brought problems of it own, as my neighbors insisted on lighting off their own fireworks and almost burning down the neighborhood. Seriously, a tree once caught fire. Eventually, I came up with my own solitary 4th of July ritual. About 9:45 PM, I'd get in my car and drive to Safeway to go grocery shopping. I'd have the store almost entirely by myself, and by the time I got home the smoke would still be hanging around but the fireworks would be over.

Tonight I sat on a bench in our meditation garden here at St. Mary-on-the-lake and listened to the firework shows in Downtown Bellevue and in the distance in Renton and Seattle's Gas Works Park. I could see the Seattle ones poking through the trees, as well as assorted home-blown fireworks here and there. I found myself praying ....

... for all those people in the world for whom the sound of "rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air" mean, quite literally, those things. We celebrate our independence by fireworks. But I think we forget the reality of people in war. I know animals have a hard time on the 4th, but I've often wondered what the day is like for veterans and refugees of war. I'd imagine it brings thoughts and memories to heart and mind.

We have exported our wars. They are no longer on our own soil so we don't know what it sounds like. But I imagine it might sound a little bit like what I heard on the bench this evening ... but without all the fanfare and with much more devestation.

Please join me in taking a moment to pray for peace. To pray for the safety of those called to serve their countries in the military. To pray for courage and wisdom for world leaders to follow the nonviolent path. To pray for the safety and security of civilians caught in the crossfires of war. To pray for the day when we all may realize the reality that we are one family and live together, in peace.

1 comment:

Pachyderm said...

Thank you, Susan.

New Zealand doesn't celebrate 4 July (for obvious reasons) - we have Anzac Day on 25 April for remembering wars, and our fireworks night is Guy Fawkes (not a holiday), 5 November, same as the UK and for the same reason. But I relate to your comments about people for whom fireworks bring back horrible memories - or where rockets explode and kill people rather than throw pretty stars.

Joining you in praying for peace.

Robyn tssf