The festivities are on. Flags wave in the hot, summer breeze, barbecues tantalize our nostrils, cold drinks quench our thirst, and as night falls the fireworks begin. This sounds a lot like the typical fourth of July holiday, doesn’t it? If you’re traveling, well, you are having an entirely different experience. But for many of us who are not taking to the skies, this is what our fourth of July may look like.
Two hundred and forty-six years ago, the United States gained its independence from Great Britain when 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of it. Since then, the holiday is celebrated with parades, picnics, family gatherings, and, of course, fireworks. Many people will take the day off from work to join in the festivities. But for others, the fourth of July is a day like any other.
If you have a chronic illness that keeps you from enjoying certain foods, or taking part in social gatherings, it’s even harder to celebrate. But is independence only about the food, the revelry, the fireworks? The past three years have tested us as a nation in a way we’ve never been tested before. The pandemic, civil unrest, climate change, and an increasingly uncertain economy may have dampened the enthusiasm many of us feel toward our country. How do we feel independent when everything we hold dear is collapsing around us?
I picked up this little quote from an email someone sent me this morning. It is By John Adams who served as the second US president from 1797 to 1801:
I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that posterity will triumph in that days’ transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” ~ John Adams, Massachusetts
If John Adams were alive today, would he say we did “rue” it? Are we taking our freedom for granted or are we counting on others to ensure our freedom? As I grow older I view freedom and independence as internal constructs — the way I see myself and the world around me; the choices I make; the way I treat myself and others, and my relationship with God. No government, group, friend or relative can guarantee my independence or my freedom. I am as free as I think I am.
So, let me encourage you with this: if you are suffering with type 2 diabetes or any chronic illness, don’t give up hope. Be independent in your thinking. Schedule time everyday to
- communicate with God.
- engage in activities that make you feel alive
- talk to people who affirm you and make your heart sing
- create a lifestyle that will give you something to wake up to every morning
Happy Fourth of July! Stay safe!