Sunday, July 06, 2008

Celebrating Independence Day in a Much Different Way

Tonight, I went to the DIGG page for my latest submission for my blog, "A Fourth that I'll always remember." DIGG user Brad3378 wrote a comment saying, "Best wishes towards a speedy recovery in Iowa." For some reason, other than just being very appreciative of that one comment at this point, I was inspired to write the following:

Brad, my friend, you're awesome. Thank you very much!

Yeah, it's pretty tough here in Cedar Rapids. Took a ride through downtown Cedar Rapids tonight - where ground zero of the flood was. It was pretty devastating, but
wow, things are getting better every day.

And yet, many lives have been tragically affected, and most of us here certainly understand that. Yes, even I lost my job because of the flood, but for me it was a totally different situation. When it came right down to it, everyone was affected in one way or another.

Yes, the normal 4th of July celebrations in this area were very subdued. It is because nobody could say that they didn't know anyone else that had something bad happen; we all knew somebody that either lost their job or their home, or both. I can only say that there was a large sense of sorrow like I've not ever seen, not even after 9/11.

But what I did to celebrate the 4th was very uplifting. I had a good friend of mine over, and it took a lot of convincing, but got 'er done. My friend Ron, who lost his wife a little over a year ago, came over, and we had a great time. We grilled out, we watched some fireworks, talked, listened to some music, and forgot about out troubles for a little while. It was the best thing we COULD do! It was all about making a choice to be happy, to make the best of our situations.

Hey, not only did I convince Ron to come over, I think I even got him to believe that attitude is a choice. While it wasn't easy, we eventually got talking about all the things that we could still be thankful for. There were people out there going through the worst things of their lives, losing everything, yet they were able to find something to be positive about - they were thankful to still be alive, I guess....

For Christians, and maybe for any other religions, it was the greatest opportunity for doing what we could do to help each other out, whether by financial support or moral support. I was glad to hear that there was a Buddist group in Cedar Rapids that helped out a lot of people, Christian churches in Cedar Rapids were responsible for helping to evacuate thousands of people that may have perished when the city began flooding by going door to door, because the police couldn't get it done by themselves. A lot of people have been touched by the efforts of various religious groups, mostly Christian of course, but everyone that could, and cared, has been pitching in however they could.

I'm not ready to write off the City of Cedar Rapids, the state of Iowa, or even this country. Most of all, I'm not ready to write off our freedom. This is why I celebrated on July 4th, America's birthday, what is called Independence Day, with all ferverence that I could! And spending the time with a very special friend on Friday, and time with my family Saturday night, was the best thing that I could have done.

I can't wait until the fireworks show NEXT year!

Yes, while having plenty of sorrow in our lives, knowing and feeling the pain of others that suffered far more loss that we can ever imagine, had it's own way of lifting many of us up. So, just imagine that, while suffering our own losses, realizing that many others have had even worse things fall upon them, being there for each other, caring and finding ways to help each other, it can make all the difference!

There was a big reason that I decided to post this blog tonight, my friends. First of all, I'm very proud of the efforts of many people in this community. Many people have pitched in, just to help make the lives of others not seem to be so harsh. So, what if.... just a second, wiping tears from my eyes.... what if this attitude was to be duplicated throughout this great country? Not just here in Cedar Rapids, in Iowa, but all through out this great land of ours?

Despite all the possible efforts of the government, we will not all be taken care of. No, we will actually need to depend on each other. On family, on friends. What each of us must do, without a doubt, is to do our best to do all we can just to make sure that each of us make it through whatever distress we are encountering during these times. Not all of our efforts can be done with just financial support. Much of our effort should be on one thing, and one thing only: Keep on loving people and being there for each other. Sometimes, as I learned this weekend, it is just spending the time, listening, and being a friend.

And, let me remind you, it is a tough job, but somebody has to do it! Is it an easy job to find ways to bring somebody up that has suffered the loss of much of their life's memories, all their efforts to be able to live comfortably in their later years? Heck no, it "ain't easy"! But do you realize that sometimes you can do more to uplift somebody just by spending some time with them, by finding ways to make them happy, maybe just by your company? Really, sometimes it just doesn't take much more than just your time, and your love!

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