Tales July 2009
July is the month in which we celebrate our nation’s independence. Picnics and parades abound on July 4th. Fireworks can usually be heard and sometimes even seen in the weeks leading up to and after the actual date. It is a fun, celebratory time.
This year some friends of mine decided that what they wanted to celebrate was inter-dependence more than independence. Their invitation to a weekend gathering made me reconsider the values we hold about independence. It is a wonderful thing that America won it’s independence 233 years ago. It is also wonderful that we and our democratically-chosen leaders are free to make decisions that benefit the folks who live here. But are there also ways in which we carry independence too far, to the detriment of what we as a society are trying to create?
Does our valuing of independence makes us less tolerant of people who need help? Does it make us less likely to reach out and ask for help when we could really use some ourselves?
These questions have been floating around in my mind, demanding that I give them some thought. Where I come down after some thought, is with the understanding that we need to value both independence and interdependence. We need to allow there to be a seamless flow between the two, so that when we are strong and capable, we do as much as possible to support ourselves and others. But when we are in need we should not embarrassed or ashamed to say so. Needing help should not be deemed a sign of weakness.
I see the strength of our country in her people, people who are flexible and resilient, who are strong and sure, ready to affirm their deeply-rooted interdependence and independence by striking just the right balance in personal, communal and national life. These are the strengths that make Tinmouth such a special community as well - people who are really good at this balancing act. Folks in need receive help and those who can reach out are willing to do so. There is a beautiful flow, of which I feel glad to be even a small part.