seven years ago, for the first time ever i was away from home on the fourth of july. and by away i mean FAR away. i was in pucallpa, peru on a mission trip with my church.
it was probably the most meaningful fourth of july i've ever experienced.
you see, we weren't supposed to be there. we were supposed to leave several days before. we were stuck. the small town that we were staying in had gone on strike. i had no idea what it meant for an entire town to go on strike before then. when the word "strike" comes to mind i see the american version: i imagine a few picketers, a few people off work for a couple days, and a big news story.
in this small town in peru, a strike meant the whole town was shut down. no stores were open, no restaurants were open, schools were closed and most importantly for us, no airports were open. no planes in, no planes out. no timeline, no guesses for when this would end, just waiting.
our little group celebrated the fourth of july there. which was ironic, bittersweet, and actually pretty fun even though it sounds like it shouldn't have been.
i always think of that trip on the fourth because it has made this holiday more meaningful that i'd ever imagined.
we forget how good it is here. we're sometimes so caught up in who's president, how good/bad/expensive healthcare is, women's rights vs. religious rights, etc that we forget how it is in other countries around the world.
small american towns don't have to completely shut down all their businesses and risk the well being and health of local families to get the government's attention. you never see mother's walking along a dirt road picking up single grains of rice that had been dropped days ago just to feed her children. women, men and children with disabilities are not cast-offs of society, left to the streets without a second thought. these are things we saw first hand on that trip.
you guys, we have it good.
so today, we're going to be frivolous. we're going to grill out, listen to loud music, wear red, white & blue head-to-toe, and watch some fireworks because we can! thanks to democracy, thanks to protestors and civil rights activist and most importantly thanks to men and women that have fought (and still fight) for our freedom!
happy fourth, everyone!