Monday, July 4, 2011

"I regret that I have but one life to give..."

On Friday, we happened to learn that friends were headed up the coast for the weekend. "Oh, next time you go, let us know and we'll join you," I said. The response was a call to action: "come this time!" A quick email let us know that Mike and Terry's place was available (thank you!) and as soon as chemistry class ended on Saturday, we were off!

The beach was so windy, we had a lesson in sand blasting, but hunkered down behind a driftwood barrier was sheltered, warm, and relaxing. The kids clearly had a blast, too, jumping and jumping from a driftwood log onto the soft sand.

The local Independence Day celebration was on the 3rd and of course we didn't want to miss it... but then, we didn't expect the crowd to be so largely composed of counter-cultural hard rocking pot smokers! We danced for a bit, spent time at the jumpy house, then began the long walk up to the car, noting hardly a flag and instead songs about "our corrupt government." There is certainly a time and place for such opinions, but we'd gotten pumped up on Revolutionary War history and the story of Nathan Hale, whose famous last words "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country" inspired us earlier in the day. This juxtaposition made me reflect... what are the issues for which we WOULD die today?

This country was founded upon a principle of religious freedom, a strong belief in the individual right to forge a relationship with God in a way consistent with individual beliefs and conscience. Today, those beliefs have been whittled away, replaced by a popular ridicule of those who profess their Faith (even though many do quietly seek meaning and God in ways seperate from religious tradition and others prevail in traditional ways, despite the scorn). My concern is that many may not feel a very strong commitment to anything in particular. We hear so much about what people reject, but that doesn't have the staying power that inspiration toward an ideal carries.

I'm going to start asking that question more, as now I'm curious... do we as a culture hold beliefs about the values that we hold that are worth dying for? What principles do we profess that are so sacred that they supercede the infinite individual value of a life, what values are absolutely necessary to preserve for a better future?

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