I got a text from my friends. Are you on you’re way? I hadn’t yet left the office. Excited to use the fireworks as an excuse to hang out with friends, I had invited myself to wherever they were gathering. They promised a good view for New York City’s festivities. I just wanted to see them. I’m glad we caught you. I think we’re going to bail and watch everything on TV. My friends weren’t going to go to the party, so I went home.
For New York City, nature had come with rain. The kind that starts and doesn’t stop. Lighter, then heavier, then lighter again. Still rain.
The rain had come as if with a message for us potential jovial celebrators. Haven’t you been listening? Don’t you hear the cries of the innocents? Lebanon, Jordan, Istanbul, Dhaka, and Baghdad, all within just over a week. Not to mention Orlando, and this.
No, you don’t get to celebrate today. There will be no drink or revelry for you. Not until every one of your brothers and sisters are free from the shackles of fear, confusion, and oppression. Not until the seats of power see the light, and return to acts of service rather than imposition. Not until the violence ends. No. Today we don’t get to celebrate a nation.
If we must, let us rather celebrate people. Celebrate the people who do the little things well. Let us celebrate those who have spent there limited time and energy on this earth making life better for those within their reach. For it is in the little things done well in the service of others, that cultures begin to shift to the good. Then organically, by building trust, reflecting love, and discovering truth, we will find ourselves in a new world. One in which our culture, the way we interact with one another, express our identity, and contribute to the good of each other, is one that we can truly celebrate.