This lyric from “The Star Spangled Banner” is a short history on why we launch fireworks each July 4: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
I have always found that line very moving—even in a moment of fiery battle, any source of light offers us “proof” of what is enduring and inspiring in life. This year, while we celebrate our country’s decisive moment of independence, let’s also celebrate those aspects of our lives that we want to illuminate.
I recently saw a greeting card that said, “Friends are like stars—they make your life sparkle.” If we’re lucky, we have many friendships in our lives, each of which offer slightly different sparks of light to help us grow, laugh and think more.
Marriage, or life partnership, offers less variety than friendship, but it is certainly an anchor of a meaningful life that is grounded in shared values, support and abiding love.
Children or grandchildren could be said to carry sparks of us inside them, from the way their noses crinkle when they laugh to the decisions they make and the way they care about others.
The work we do every day—whether or not we go to an office or even get paid to do it—is another standard bearer of our life and values. Work organizes our life around a routine, and it is a consistent way we can contribute to our community and the world.
Consider ways to celebrate these anchors of your life this Independence Day. Wave sparklers in the backyard with friends one summer evening; sip bubbly champagne or sparkling cider to toast your marriage; plan a picnic dinner while watching the fireworks with the family; bring some cookies decorated with festive sprinkles to work to share the shared purpose of a work day well spent.
What is steadfast, loyal and uplifting in your life? What is the flag that continues to wave despite the blasts and storms that challenge you?