A day of freedom

 

TO MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS,
to childhood friends,
   sharers of mixed memories
      of coming of age in Old Virginia,
to new friends who connected recently,
   because our ideas interest each other,
to family members, close and distant,
   those I share life with,
      and the distant cousins we never see,
to my formal teachers over the years,
   saints and quasi-parents in my esteem,
to the other people from whom I have learned,
   and still learn, either gladly or less gladly,
and to the generous souls who occasionally claim
   to have learned something from me,
to my soul-friends from congregations I’ve been in,
   and those who have not been in the same congregations,
      but are moved to joy and to tears
         by the same scriptures and the same Spirit,
to the wonderful people in this neighborhood we live in,
   who model the meaning of “good neighbor”
      in so many ways,
to my colleagues in academia and in publishing,
   especially the authors
      and the readers
         who give me a reason for working,
to friends who tend to agree with me,
   that we as a nation have been rolling downhill
      at a furious and accelerating pace
         in a flag-draped handcart,
and to friends who disagree with me,
   who I think are wearing blindfolds,
      while they think the same of me,
to the friends who are US citizens,
   and are proud and grateful to be so,
      or are grateful but not so proud,
         and also those who are more proud than grateful,
and to those who live here but are not citizens,
   but wish they were,
      or wish they could get back home,
and to those who are not USA people
   but are our old friends,
      and love what we have been in the past,
         and wonder what we are becoming,
and to all who join me in thinking either that this flag
   has ever meant something good,
      or could come to mean something good,

      I WISH YOU ALL, I wish us all,
          an Independence Day,
         A DAY OF FREEDOM,

freedom from strife, from fear, from anger,
from people who want to wind us up,
   make us suspicious and anxious,
freedom from lying and blaming,
freedom for remembering things that are good,
   while acknowledging what could be better,
freedom to love one another,
   to love America,
      and to love the world,
and to pray for GOD to BLESS AMERICA
   only by making America good.
———————
July 4, 2020

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