A time to celebrate freedom, bravery and the American legacy with hotdogs and semi-controlled explosives.
In college I loved driving to watch the fireworks over the ocean in La Jolla, Ca. It was so beautiful because there were always multiple shows glittering in the distance so it felt like the whole coast was celebrating together.
For the past 13 years, I have spent the holiday dazzling my kids with sparklers, or taking them to community park celebrations, or driving them all over, chasing the various fireworks displays. I have collected some very treasured memories.
This year was different. This year, it was just me.
I spent several hours in my car. My radio options melted down to blended variations of spanish/christian/country with a consistent you're-not-quite-in-range-for-this-station buzz. So I traded that noise for the hum of my car and the thoughts in my head.
Thoughts of my kids. My life. That new mystery sound coming from my engine which I can now hear since I turned the radio off...
Thoughts of Independence.
This year I visited a precious friend in rehab. Fighting for his freedom from addiction. His independence from misery. I met the others and heard their stories. Saw their loved ones. Felt the hope. Considered my own steps.
Independence is rarely painless. It almost always requires bravery. It requires a willingness to think differently, behave differently, risk being misunderstood or rejected. Risk comfort, safety, companionship, change.
It's the pivotal cliff. For whatever reason, life has culminated at this ledge. The choice is to either regress or step forward and hope to grow wings before hitting the rocks.
I made it back home by 7:00. Fed the dogs. Ate left-over casserole and chocolate chip cookies. Climbed into bed around 9:00. As I was drifting, I heard the pops and crackles. It was a good day.
I spent Independence Day celebrating the process of progress. Contemplating the fire of change which makes way for the brilliance of what will be. Because, it seems, some of us are the phoenix. We don't find our wings until after we've been reduced to ashes. Scary. Painful.