photo © 2008 Candie_N | more info (via: Wylio)The leaders of the colonies decided that a separation was in order. They also determined that an explanation of their separation was in order. Among other things they stated:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
There are several lessons in this sentence, and on this celebration of our national independence, here are some of the lessons.
1. Creator. While the founding fathers may have disagreed about the nature of God, they still agreed that there was a Creator. They acknowledged this Creator. The Creator is the one who gives the rights that will be mentioned. Do you believe in and acknowledge your Creator? Does this Creator give you rights and or responsibilities? One of the reasons many do not get involved in a faith community, I believe, is that they never consider what they believe or the ramifications of that belief. Take some time to consider what you believe and what you are going to do about that belief.
2. Unalienable Rights. Every human being has rights. There are many in the world who are denied their rights. There are many who live in unjust political and economic situations. There are many who live where their lives are in danger because of their geographic location, political persuasion, or religious beliefs. The founders of our country were willing to risk their personal comfort and safety for the sake of the rights of the men they believed who were created equal. (Yes, they believed that only white men were created equal, but we have grown in our understanding that all humans are created equal.) What are you doing to help others understand and claim the rights we enjoy? How are you supporting justice in the world? For those of us who know what it is to live in a just society, there is an obligation to empower others to live in a just society.
3. Life. Many people simply go through the motions of living without really experiencing life. Those founding fathers and all who followed after them wanted for us a real life. They wanted for us a soul deep experience of living, being our authentic selves, expressing ourselves, and making our own way. Have you taken that for granted? Are you just existing, or are you living?
4. Liberty. We have the freedom to be ourselves, to seek our own way, and to follow our own minds and hearts. Yet some chose to be swept along with the tide of public opinion, political correctness, or whatever surges past them rather than living free of the restraints. We are free to make our own choices, to make our own way, and to live our own lives. How are you exercising liberty? Are you exercising your freedom to choose how you want to live, or are you continuing to be limited by others expectations? Use your freedom.
5. Pursuit of Happiness. We don’t have to settle for ordinary, boring, or what is the standard for our families or our communities. We are told to pursue our own happiness. We are told this is our right. It is our choice, but we find ourselves limiting ourselves because of our own fears or the fears of others. What is your dream? Be willing to pursue it. Be willing to dare.
So many seek to come into the United States, by both legal and illegal means. They want the opportunity for something more. They want a better life. They want the American dream. Let us remember or own independence this day. Let us not waste the gift of independence. Let us celebrate that we live in a country where others fought for our human rights. Let us not forget our responsibility to enjoy those human rights and fight for the rights of others.