Why independence is not about being independent. It’s about fighting.

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Fireworks

“I wanna dedicate this song to all the lovers tonight. And I expect that might be the whole world. Because everybody needs something or someone to love.”

– Bobby Womack

If you’re a fan of R&B music the quote above is likely familiar. You are also probably aware that Bobby Womack who famously sang “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” passed away recently. I realize that you may not be familiar with the song, but I wanted to highlight these opening lines. They’ve always been a reminder to me that human beings have a universal drive to give love to others.

Sometimes the concept of being independent can feel in direct conflict with the interdependent nature of loving people we can’t control. Choosing to love others can be scary and it requires giving up some of our emotional independence and security. But love is by far the most powerful emotion. It drives us to action and it’s contagious. The more you choose to love, the broader the group you are willing to love becomes. You may find yourself feeling compassion for complete strangers. And you may find yourself willing to fight for them.

When I think about the American story of independence, it is not a story of “going it alone”. And it is not a story of putting one’s own interest first. It is a story of hope, trust, faith and teamwork. It is a story that has love’s voice all over it. Often with historical figures (like George Washington for example), we forget that he was simply a human being. We forget that he had to conquer some very real fears to stand up for freedom. He like many throughout history chose to fight not just for himself. He fought for the many people around him and the generations that would come behind them. So when we celebrate independence here in the United States, we don’t just celebrate being free to survive and prosper on our own terms. We also celebrate being free to make choices that make the lives of others and the lives that come after us better. And there are many in this country and all around the world that still need our help in fighting. I hope to keep them on my mind tomorrow as I celebrate independence. And I hope this holiday weekend will leave you refreshed with a renewed strength to serve.

Happy 4th of July!

Who are you fighting for?

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