If you’re a news junkie, it is difficult not to be depressed about the state of the world. Wars, famine, revolt, poverty–it’s a real downer to scan the daily headlines. Even here at home, in our tried-and-true democracy, times are tough. Unemployment is too high, the national debt is scandalous, and our elected leaders are having trouble working together to find a solution that will help all citizens rather than a privileged few. Ugh.
That said, I am thankful to live in the United States. I am grateful to be a citizen of a free nation under a constitution that guarantees certain rights and liberties. The situation here is not ideal, of course, but then nothing is perfect and it’s pretty short-sighted of folks to assume this big old country of ours should run like a Hollywood movie. Anytime humans are involved in anything there’s bound to be some hitches in the giddy-up.
I would still rather live here and work on making things better than live in a lot of other places around the world. In the United States I can worship without fear and in freedom. I can pretty much say how I feel without worrying about being dragged off, tortured, killed, and dumped in an unmarked grave. I have a vocation I love that pays my bills and allows me to serve others. I have lots of choice about what I purchase or choose not to purchase–both in terms of food and consumer goods. My children are able to go to school. Police, fire, and emergency personnel serve in my community and offer a measure of protection and security. Men and women willingly volunteer to serve in the armed forces to keep our borders safe. Some infrastructure exists in almost every community. I could go on, but you know what I’m saying.
We Americans are very lucky people. By the accident of birth we did not choose, we have abundant freedoms. We even have the freedom to peacefully protest the wrongs we do see and work for change. Yep, we’re in a little bit of a mess right now, but if you take a walk though history, you’ll see that other eras had their challenges and missteps, too.
The things about this nation I do not like or feel are unjust are up to me to try to change. I have that freedom. I have the freedom to be a responsible citizen who cares about her neighbor as well as herself, or I can be an irresponsible person who looks only to my own good and complains when things don’t go my way. Again, I have the freedom to choose.
So, I choose to be thankful. I choose to be grateful for these United States. And, I choose to try to make a difference where I can, to speak out when I see injustice, and work for a better nation for all. If I don’t agree with how things are going, I have the freedom to work for change. Realistically I may not be able to do much, but who knows? I do live in a free nation. What was that old camp song…”It only takes a spark to get a fire going…”?
Are you grateful for the freedoms you enjoy?