Iris over at Sting My Heart wrote this week on Peace. I thought it funny considering the week I've had but this one has been on my mind more so I'm sharing it. Please forgive me if it seems a bit disjointed. Like I mentioned, I'm a bit off this week. Hopefully next week I will have settled back down again. I'll probably be thankful even more for that Peace next week...
You know, I find so many things wrong with every day America. Conversations I have about it tend to drift toward the same topics - rude drivers (and we seem to be getting more rude in general). It also feels as if so many of us have forgotten that when we climb into our car, we are in control of a massive, powerful weapon - capable of inflicting pain so intense it can't be imagined and yet we drive it like it's a Tonka toy. We also forget that the folks in the cars around us have important things going on in their lives, too. I realized last night that I am a culprit in this, too. I'm not innocent.
So - while I definitely had some things to say about some of the folks driving around me yesterday and probably will today forward, I am reminded of a few things I am thankful for because I live in a country where I can say things out loud about other drivers on the road:
1. I'm grateful for our medical care. No, it's not perfect - it's run by human beings. Won't be. Ever. However - it IS better than what is available in many countries today. Some may say that's not saying much but those aren't the people sitting in a country with no health care. My husband got hurt at work on Monday and by Tuesday we knew that while it is painful and a serious injury, he is being taken care of by a competent doctor who will keep Aaron from hurting even more. I have to have some minor surgery in September and while I have been with the same doctor for over ten years and would trust no one else, if I didn't feel comfortable with her, I could find another doctor - quickly.
2. I'm grateful for choices. Sometimes I think there are WAY too many and I may never make up my mind but I know I still get to make one. Even one as mundane as what toothpaste will I use this morning. How many folks don't have toothpaste?
3. I'm grateful to be able to speak my mind. Even if I don't give it much thought and just let words tumble out, even if I end up having to eat crow - I can speak up, speak out, just... speak and I have a voice. I can proclaim the name of God loud and clear. I can say "Jesus" in a crowd and not face arrest. Personal persecution may happen but no one is going to put me in prison for trying to share the fact that Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to put us back in right relationship to God.
4. I'm grateful there are people here who care enough about their families, friends and this country to don (or have donned) the uniform of our armed forces. They are so brave, these men and women willing to give up their dreams and plans so I can continue to speak up and speak out...
5. I'm grateful I live in a place where there is so much opportunity, so many ways to help those who don't have as much, so many options for my children, so many people who still want to do the right thing.
No - America is definitely not perfect and we are, it feels most of the time, spiraling out of control. We seem to have forgotten some basic truths and have taken God out of where, instead, we should be grateful He wants to be. We often act as if "I" am the most important person in the world and treat our neighbors shabbily because of it. Then every once in a while you see a news report or hear a story from a friend that reminds you there is hope and it gets you wandering back down the grateful road again.
For this week, that story involves a group of young men who will be returning from Williamsport, PA next week HUGE winners. They may not have won the final "prize" and be the World Series Little League champs but the guys from the Mill Creek All Stars have reminded us, in many ways, how unique and flat out fun baseball is. No inflated salaries, over-priced tickets or memorabilia selling for millions online - just a bunch of boys who have played together for years going out, giving their all for a game they love and showing us a good time watching them.
I'm thankful for America and what it stands for, for what our founding fathers had hoped for in this country and I am ever so grateful to the God who loves us despite our faults, which are legion.