Independence as a concept, a word, a holiday, is a big word. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
Without launching into a lengthy and divergent rant about how specific cultures may or may not value the individual, or how everything is connected to everything else, how an impact to one part affects all the others, etc., for some reason I am thinking about it in much simpler terms today, on the 4th of July.
My thought stream is something like this:
Learning to ride a bike on our own, dress ourselves, tie our shoes, navigate other people in hallways, on sidewalks, in our lives and then how to do addition, subtraction, how to read, how to cook, overcome our fears and generally make our way in the world, carrying groceries through the dark, fumbling with keys, feeling up and down the wall for a light, a controlled stumble into the house to put them all away.
Arguably, some are better than others at this independence but, in any case, the simple truth is that independence cannot be escaped. Even as we pass from this world to whatever is next, we are each independently inside our own, marvelous machine as life unfolds.
Oddly, here is what my thought stream above leads me to this morning:
how grateful I am for the moments we don’t feel that singular sort of solitude, that independence, for each moment it may occur to us we are not alone and are together, reassured.
Like today: together we are united in an idea. It may be an illusion but it still has great value for reasons that are not at all obvious.
With that in mind, regardless of what the word, or the holiday, conjures or means to you in your own corner of the world this year, we raise our glasses together: Happy Independence Day.