A lot of the world is not independent or freely living. Or maybe they are, but not quite in the way I am. We are. They are malnourished, thirsty for clean and fresh water, worn down with skin stretching thin and bones protruding. I sit here camping in a tent without holes, on a mattress pad for comfort, with a synthetic sleeping bag in the very off case that I feel a breeze pass through this southern Oregon sleep. I wake up to clean clothes, showers even in a "camping site," where we are "roughing it." We eat hot scrambled eggs and veggies, we sip coffee, we pray and give thanks. But I complain a lot. I am not even going to share with you the percentage of my words that come out as complaints. Its horrifying.
I pour clear liquid from our camping-bladder and a bit misses my plastic clean bottle made for water. My foot is splashed and normally I would think nothing of it. But not recently, recently I have noticed a lot of things. We throw the extra clean water out, dumping it into our fire pit before leaving the site. But what else would we do with it?
I am at a gas station on our way to the lake and I use the restroom. While washing my hands I think about how we have so much of the world's most precious resource, that we even deposit our most filthy contents into it: pee and poop.
My heart aches. I think about babies and Mommas and daddies and kids running around in the dirt, not knowing what a warm shower means, not experiencing the vast amount of clearly clean water to consume at any time. To consume and waste and not even blink an eye at any that may fall into the dirt.
It's a big day for our country. Today we celebrate the historic moment when the 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, the day that kick started the formation of this country. Of the United States of America. A country so free, so full of resources, so...blessed.
I've been wondering why I get to be an American. Why was I placed in a womb here, in Oregon? In the wonderful land of the free? I've been battling [unnecessary] guilt of wearing the name American. I don't believe Jesus asks me to walk in guilt over this; He placed me here. But I do believe He places in us convictions, He breaks our heart for specific things that breaks His.
My heart has been breaking for orphans and momma's. Daddies too, but mainly Momma's and orphans. Mommas who cannot feed their babies, mommas who decide or are forced to place their child in an orphanage. Mommas who are hungry and thirsty. Orphans who only know a life of fighting-for-life. A life of survival. But I wonder if they know the comfort of Jesus so much more than I. I wonder if their Hope is immensely more real.
And here I am, dumping clean water into a fire pit and throwing away sweet and spicey pecans because their flavor doesn't sit well on my tongue. Wondering how many children would swarm to me for just one of those nuts.
There is so much wrestling within this heart of mine. I want my wrestling to be doused in grace and woven with gratitude.
Today as we drive to the lake to catch a breath of freshness from this heat (106 degrees, people), I am thankful to be an American. And I write that carefully, hesitantly. I am thankful but not wanting to take this home for granted, knowing I already do in so many ways. I am not entitled to this freedom; it has been a gift that lives have been spent for. What brave men and families we have, fighting and sacrificing more than I can comprehend, so we can live here in this land. In the land of the free. There are not words that carry the weight of thanks you deserve.
Let us not take this for granted, to the best of our ability. Happy Fourth of July, Happy Independence Day. I celebrate the freedom of this country with you.