I don't know what sparked it, but several years ago I remember driving along a beautiful stretch of Kentucky highway that was flanked with neatly groomed horse farms, when an overwhelming sense of patriotism enveloped me. I actually started crying. All-of-the-sudden I became aware of how very, very blessed I was to be born in, to live in the United States of America.
The desperate mothers, hopeless fathers and hungry children in foreign and desperate lands that we watch from a distance when we turn on the television probably don't see things so gleefully. Just as I wondered that day how I could be so blessed with freedom and abundance, they probably wonder why they were cursed to live their existence in such destitution and need. I didn't choose my land of origin, neither did they. And I have a feeling if those hollowed mothers could choose their child's place of beginnings, it would at least be in a place where they could find food.
My sense of patriotic pride is very real. I am proud of our nation. The great democratic experiment has proven itself. Every once in a while we get the opportunity to change course when we feel things aren't working right. Without violence or coup, with the voice of a vote we are asked our opinions and invited to express them. Sometimes the loser is sore, but their voice is not silenced by the victor. And in a handful of years we the people of a free and wealthy nation are given the opportunity to do it all over again.
I don't have to agree with everyone to believe that our nation is strong. As a matter of fact, I believe it is the diversity of ideas that gives us our strength. I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with my own understandings, but just as I value the opposing arguments of others, I expect them to regard my own ideas at least as valuable.
For centuries now a variety of skin tones, dialects, beliefs and cultures have made their way into our melting pot. Some who were born here have sadly taken offense to it. They've adopted the mindset of "my four and no more." They are threatened by the thought of unknown languages and strange customs. Just as many of our churches refuse to embrace a new song or a fresh understanding, these patriots feel it is their duty to protect their land from those who don't look like us or talk like us. In reality, we are all descendants of immigrants in search of a better life for our children.
Being a true American patriot does not mean we must reject and silence anything and everything we consider to be non-American. If being an American means we are hard working, it is to help those who cannot work. If to you your patriotism is related to your faith, by all means, express it and share it. But understand that if we demand that others cannot express their own, we are in danger of losing our own ability to do the same.
God has blessed America, and I'm grateful. My children will know more opportunity and abundance than most others around the world. I will continue to rally around my causes and enjoy the right to speak out, even when those in power do not agree. I can pray when I want - where I want. I can share the Gospel, sing of Jesus, and worship my God in this beautiful land. How blessed I am!