Chili Millie here.
I’m your flag-waving, perfectly-seasoned tour guide of life events with a few uncensored thoughts about the upcoming July 4th celebration. I know, I know, some of you don’t feel like waving a flag this year, but hear me out “anyway.”Â
When Jan was a child, she thought they rolled out the fireworks each year to celebrate her family’s July birthdays. She was one of six in her family to be born in July.Â This year, her brother Ralphâ€”who arrived on the planet JulyÂ 4th, 70 years ago, threw a huge party for himself. Half of the 80+ family members showed up to sing, dance, play games and eat cakeâ€”all the normal stuff one does at this three-day-all-expenses-paid-birthday-party-of-the-century. I witnessed it all and realized that families are like small countries.
Â A family and a country are composed of peopleâ€”plain and simple.Â Their individual stories are in motion like the wheels of a clock. Each is moving forward on a trajectory toward somewhere else with their new jobs, pregnancies, health challenges, interests, and ways of keeping their lives together. (It reminds me of the circus act where the guy keeps the plates spinning in the airâ€”all at once.) We all exist in the here and now, Â yet soon, we’ll be somewhere else. Life will be changing in some way. A birthday party is a time to press the pause button to celebrate NOW. It’s a time to look back at where we’ve been and imagine new possibilities just around the corner.Â
A birthday party and Independence Day are times to celebrate one life/one country. In doing so, we honor all lives in all countries. Anyone over the age of reason knows that life here on earth is messy; I won’t itemize the messes, because I can see your head nodding in agreement. This is true EVERYWHERE in the world, yet here we are in the good ol’ USA. Â We have one family and one country. That means that no matter what’s going on, we ride. We gather our pride, gratitude and love for each other and ask ourselves what role we might play in improving the future.
If you doubt me, just read the poem Dr. Kent M. Keith wrote called “The Paradoxical Commandments” because it fits. Maybe you’ve heard it before. The first two lines are: “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.” Mother Teresa liked it so much she tacked it up to the wall of her bedroom in Calcutta. Who can argue with a Mother Teresa testimonial.Â To see the whole poem, check out this linkÂ (https://mirthandmotivation.com/2014/07/26/do-it-anyway-a-poem-and-a-prayer/).
What I most want to say is: We are alive. We’re here to celebrate each other! Wave your flag and shake your pride with gratitude this 4th of July.Â And don’t forget the cake.Â
Celebrate life as if it’s your last day!