Celebration, remembrance, and post-burger enlightenment

Funny how you don't realize how much you do around the house on a daily basis until you get sick, don't get to do it, and then try to pick up the pieces afterwards. I think that today we're finally going to get a handle on the mess in the kitchen—it seems like every time we've turned around, the kitchen's been a mess again, and we've never managed to get it thoroughly cleaned up.

I didn't get to bake the blackberry cobbler last night. As Jeff and I joked in the car, last night turned into a demonstration of "Plan B." Phone rings—shows a mobile number. Suspicious, I picked it up. Sure enough, it's Kat and Jess, but instead of "hey we're headed home, wanna get some food?" the message was "HELP! Jess' car died, we're going to the dealership, can you rescue us?"So we hop in the car, run around a deserted car dealership for a while, and eventually find our friends and rescue them. Instead of the baked mini pizzas we'd planned on for dinner, they ended up ordering pizza in for us as thanks for the rescue. Hey, it was a short drive for us, but I think everyone who owns a car knows what it's like to be stranded, and how grateful you are when someone comes to your aid.

Today's technically a holiday—but it seems like we've been doing an awful lot around the house. I sometimes think, though, that we as citizens of this country completely and utterly miss the point of holidays. I'm just as guilty of this as just about everyone else—maybe guiltier because I actually think about this sort of thing, but rarely do much about it.

Over two hundred years ago, a group of otherwise-normal men decided to fight for something they believed in so strongly that they were willing to give their lives to that cause. What they did influences literally every day of our lives. Be realistic—do you have a cause, a belief, a conviction that you are willing to give up everything for? Leave your family and home? Lay down your life in the hopes that perhaps your life—the one thing you hold the most dear—will have a real and palpable difference in the turn of your nation's events? I honestly cannot say that I know of any such men or women.

That is, however, usually the hallmark of truly important points in world history—when the quiet, the ordinary, and the mundane are transformed by necessity into people the world remembers. We remember the ones throughout history who said, "It must be done, and if it must start somewhere, let it start with me."

In celebration and remembrance of lives lost for the sake of ideology, we grill our hamburgers and raise our drinks in toast to mass-produced fireworks. All in honor of men and women not terribly unlike ourselves, with homes and social lives, children and dreams, debts and social pressures, who threw their society into complete and utter turmoil for the promise of something better to come out of that bloodshed.

We don't even think about it—we take our liberties and freedoms for granted much as we take for granted the soil we stand upon. We do not understand the beauty of what we have—the freedom to walk outside without the stain of terror on our souls. We see the neighbor's lawn that isn't mowed as cleanly as our own, the weeds in the garden, the power lines that reduce the value of our property.

We fail to grasp the magnificence of a life led freely, for in that very freedom comes complacence. How can it not? Someone who has spent their entire life under the auspices of free will is not going to wake up every morning and say, "How beautiful it is that I am allowed to live my life as I choose."

But, perhaps, on days like these—a few days set aside each year to remember what has (and has not) come to pass in this world—we will think, reflect, and remember. It's a little much to ask for your friends to pass the enlightenment between the burgers and the beer, but sometimes you gotta wish for what you really need.

Happy holiday to you and yours, and here's to learning from our mistakes every now and then.