This is the first Fourth of July I have experienced in the USA in years! This "Involuntary Re-entry" is full of surprises, and one of them is the blessing that I can spend this time with my sister, brother and 89 year old mother.
It is interesteing to hear them reminise about "Fourths gone by" and of all the family gatherings I have missed. My mom talks about how she and dad celebrated this day while in Korea, and I share stories of make-shift celebrations in the UK, as well as British vs American basketball games in Jamaica. My brother talks of the wonderful fireworks in Washington, DC where he works as an archivist at the National Archives.
My sister looks at all of us, on this her favourite holiday of the entire year and shakes her head. She wishes she had a family who knew how to get on a plane and just come home for these festivities.
This morning at church we sang, "God Bless America" and said the pledge of Allegence. It brought tears to my eyes to be able to sing these songs and say these words, but I was SO grateful they were on the screen above. It had been so long, I wasn't sure I remembered. No one seemed terribly patriotic, as I had remembered they had once been; most people seemed concerned that America was losing it's way and much in need of prayer.
One of the local ladies I have recently come to know said, "My kids went to the beach today and asked me to join them. I said 'no, my country is in trouble. Time to go to church to pray." Amen.