So let me be upfront. I don’t know the right things to say.
I struggle feeling like I have something to say but not knowing what exactly that is. I struggle with wanting to wait to make sure I am in a place of genuine understanding and knowledge but I equally feel compelled to share.
I have researched, I have listened, I have leaned into history, I have sat back and examined my heart and my life and I feel that I’ve learned. But I’m not done learning. I’m not done speaking up and exposing God’s truth. I’m not done sharing my opinion boldly and I felt the need to do just that as we are approaching this holiday.
We are going into July 4th weekend. A weekend that I’ve always thought of as boat rides, hot dogs, and fireworks. I had plans on sharing a cute themed recipe but that didn’t feel right.
For me, July 4th has always meant the celebration of the day we signed the Declaration of Independence. The day that vision was cast for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans.
It’s 2020. I’m a 28 year old white woman and for the first time in my life I’m considering that the day this was signed, slavery was still a really real thing in America.
Maybe it’s because History was always my least favorite subject but I’d venture to say the reason for that is because I’ve never chosen or had to consider it before.
Awareness and change are happening across our country and in our homes. Something that is long overdue. For me personally, as July 4th approaches, I have been challenged to be more intentional as it relates to race and freedom.
I’ve decided I wanted July 4th to be different this year.
One of the consistent themes for my life in the last several months has been both/and thinking and immediately that’s how I thought about this holiday.
I love freedom. I love seeing passionate people representing something they fiercely believe in. I love loyalty and proudly representing where you come from, but…
Can I be proud and be a proponent for change?
Can I still love this country and be torn?
Can I feel hope in progress and acknowledge that we have a long way to go for everyone to feel and be free?
Can I choose to celebrate in a thoughtful way and be conscious about doing it differently than we have in years past?
Hear me out.
I’m not saying don’t celebrate July 4th, we are choosing to celebrate it as a family day. To connect, learn and listen. If you know me, then you know shaming or imposing our ways is never a space that I operate out of. However, for me it’s challenged me to lean in.
What would happen if on this independence day we challenged our view of independence?
There is still something to celebrate but maybe it’s not the past. Maybe it’s celebrating looking to the future. Maybe it’s celebrating progress.
I don’t know how this will be received but I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself. My heart here is not to have our cake and eat it too, my heart is awareness and growth. My heart is acceptance. My heart is love and my hope in sharing is that it might will help others think. That it will assure you that it’s okay to change your opinion and to grow. That it will give you the confidence to have the hard conversations with your spouses, family, and children so that we can advocate and celebrate all people being free.
“The Fourth of July freed the land from Britain; the 19th of June freed all the people,” Myers said. “So you really can’t talk about freedom in America unless you talk about Fourth of July and the 19th of June.” -Rev Ronald Meyers