Those of us in the United States of America are celebrating our country’s 242nd birthday today, July 4, 2018. Most are, at least.
This calendar year finds lots of Americans bothered to the point that celebrating the Independence of the colonies from England in 1776 a difficult thing to do. They are having a hard time finding the joy in our Independence when their personal worlds are in physical, emotional, spiritual, or personal bondage.
Indeed, one doesn’t have to look far to hear the true stories of folks who are marginalized, hurt, persecuted, abandoned, separated, and discouraged in this country. Many are fearing the freedoms they hold dear to be slipping away. This is true of folks on both sides of the political aisle, as well as those who are in the middle of the aisle or even riding fences. Loss of freedoms and marginalization are not simply issues reserved for one particular group of folks; this seems to be the general emotional consensus.
But, there is hope. I choose to believe people are good, generally speaking. I believe people want to be treated fairly and loved honestly. We have met a good many of them on our travels. We have hosted many, many folks in our homes through the years and heard lots of life-stories. When we boil down the busyness, pressures and aspects of humanity, it turns out we all just desire the freedom to live and love on this ball of earth the way we see fit, going about joyfully without trouble.
You want “change we can believe in” or are you interested in “making America great again”?? Okey doke, listen up, because it is simple. It costs you no campaign donation, no trips to the ballot box, no time in the summer heat while holding a protest sign and no donation to a worthy case. All of those avenues for change are important but there is more to the equation. The “more” is free and enjoyable.
Interested?? As Little Miss Homemaker and I returned from the grocer this morning, we turned on to our country road to realize a fellow had recently fashioned a sturdy fresh vegetable stand. A sign had been painted with the invitation, “homegrown vegetables, self-serve”.
Well, I am no dummy and I know better than to turn down an offer of a fresh homegrown tomato which had taken its time to vine-ripen in the hot summer sun. This is especially true since we, regrettably, have no garden this year as we are preparing to sell our farm so that we can full-time RV for a couple of years.** I turned my Chariot around and pulled into this farmer’s gravel driveway, stopping right beside the attractive vegetable stand. As I walked up to the stand, I spotted the farmer throw up his arm in a hearty wave as he walked from his house to his garden. I responded with a wave and a smile. We don’t know each other and we have no other relationship other than humanity and American citizenship. For one second we were connected as two folks doing our best in life but taking time to respect and acknowledge one another. This farming entrepreneur went about his business, trusting me to abide by the honor system he had established. Hanging over four varieties of freshly picked tomatoes and yellow squash hung a sign explaining the process.
“Self-Serve Honor System/All vegetables are $2.00 a pound/Weigh what you need and round the price up or down to the nearest dollar/Please put the money in the cash box, or if you need to write a check, make it payable to ………/Vegetables are homegrown on family farm and I hope you enjoy them!/Thank-you for your business!”
My late Grandpa George used to operate this way. He would put bundles of blooming bittersweet branches at the end of the “lane”, he would call it, and leave a note with a container for folks to drop their money in exchange for those beautiful bundles of Ohio fall beauty. (I wish I had that sign of his to hang on my wall.)
Folks like Mr. Local Farmer and Grandpa George give us hope in America. They trust folks. They have faith in the goodness of mankind, of fellow humans. I want to be trusted. I want to trust others but, admittedly, many make it difficult to do so, don’t you think?
What if we TRUSTED more?? What if we opened our lives, our hearts to actually trust rather than mistrust or doubt? What if we were more concerned with the actual relationship and purpose rather than being treated fairly every. single. time? Not comfortable with that? OK, what if we LISTENED more? What if we stopped, or at least slowed, long enough to smile, speak, listen, help?
Now, Mr. Patient and I are busy like many of ya’ll. We do “have a life”, as they say. We have things to do, people to see, places to go, bills to pay, stuff to maintain, work to complete. However, we are working toward making conscience efforts to slow down where people are concerned. We have a way to go, boy howdy, we sure do! But, we have already seen the benefits as we take a few extra minutes to listen to part of someone’s story, to stop long enough to help them pick-up what they’ve dropped in the grocery store, to ask the waitress her name and use her name when speaking to her throughout the meal. We actually teach our littles that not speaking to someone when the opportunity is appropriate is actually very selfish, rude and disrespectful. We have realized our stress levels are reduced when we take a few minutes to actually listen to how someone’s day is going.
Being kind, trusting folks, speaking to someone, using respectful language….these are not laborious actions, folks. Not hard at all. Lest you think I live in a bubble, maybe I do. It is called the South. It is pretty much the way of life for those of us who were born and bred in the “down here” part of the great US of A. But, we are not immune to busyness and often can “forget our manners”. Shame on us! Shame on all Americans who have forgotten their manners, or never learned any to begin with.
Want to bring about hope and change and make this country great again?
Go find yourself a vegetable stand, buy several pounds of homegrown tomatoes for some all-American BLTs, add your fair payment to the money box with a quickly jotted note that says something to the effect, “Thanks for trusting people! There is hope for America! And, by the way, I rounded up. J”
Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you. Proverbs 11:17
God Bless America!
**If the Lord is willing, we plan to sell our home in July 2018 and buy an RV with the purpose of traveling the nation meeting and serving the good folks of America. Afterwards, we trust the Lord to show us where He wants and needs us to settle down to build our homestead. Thus, this adventure is called our Heritage Homestead Journey.