Independence = Responsibility, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

We put in a lot of celebrating when the Fourth of July rolls around. And it is good that we do so. However, what we celebrate is the culmination of years of preparation, argument, debates, and before that, anger.  What was perceived as unjust interference by England grew from annoyance to a call to action.  And that was not done quickly.  It is also true that not all the people were in agreement.  Pulling a country together so that the people who had always had decisions made for them learned to make decisions themselves without trampling on the rights of others was not an easy task.

The Declaration of Independence is a marvel, and I doubt that any other country asserts in their documents that the pursuit of happiness is part of human rights.

Our becoming a country independent of another might be compared to rearing a child.  We have all heard the phrase “the terrible twos”.  That is the point in the child’s development when she perceives herself as separate from the mother.  With limited vocabulary the child uses what she has. Therefore “NO!  Me do it!” are a major part of communication.  No matter that he does not have the skills or the strength to do the task.  The will to do it is strong. The USA in its early development was scattered in what they wanted to do.

During the adolescent stage of development the pull is away from the family.  Soon this individual will be establishing a family separate but connected to the paternal home.  The organism is strong but has not yet attained the mental powers to make good judgments.  Breaking from the family has to happen if the person is to attain his goals.  We had our Tea Party to get this message across.

The leaders that emerged during this time were outstanding.  Can you imagine trying to put together a form of government for a country whose breadth was unknown!  Even though there were representatives from all the areas (states) there could never be total agreement among those leaders much less the people they represented.  It is the people whose responsibility it became to cohesively form a new government.  The give and take that happens in a family is not too far removed from the same give and take required of citizens of this country.

The marvel is not so much the actual independence as it is the journey to get us there. So when you see the fireworks and light the fire-crackers, remember what it took to get us here, and resolve to do all you can to make this wonder land of ours stay together.

For movie buffs there are several very good (but old) ones I would recommend. The first is a comedy, but ends up with a powerful message for all of us.  That one is PROTOCOL with Goldie Hawn.  Another is Mr. Smith goes to Washington with Jimmy Stewart.  These two movies give me insights every time I watch them.

Have a safe Fourth of July!

Sharonlu, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

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