Sunday, November 25, 2012
A Good Morning In America
America is hurting these days. She's battered and bruised and her traditional values are under assault. In our 236 year history we've seen similar challenges to our way of life, and somehow always managed to meet them. Let's hope we can this time as well.
I worry a lot about America. When I do it's usually about some large, seemingly insolvable problem. I fear for my country, as much as I ever have before. But something happened this morning that lightened my heart and I realized again just how wonderful we Americans are.
I was driving to the store this morning, to pick up something that I needed. At a red light at the corner I stopped and saw a little girl rush out of a youth fitness center, and jump into a car where her mother waited patiently to take her home. The little girl could not have been over six years old, and was dressed in one of those little gymnast outfits they wear in the Olympics. The joy on her face and the spring in her step brought a smile to my lips.
I drove on to the store and parked in the parking lot, and sat there in the car thinking about that little girl. Could she be dreaming of someday mastering the balance bars in some far off Olympics? It was so early in the morning I imagined she possessed no small amount of ambition to have risen so early in the morning to attend a gymnastics class. How cool is that, I thought!
I then sat back in the driver's seat, sipped coffee from my commuter mug and my thoughts expanded to how many Americans, like that little girl, rise each morning, greet the day, then go out and do something hard and rewarding, and of great value!
I see a cop standing in front of his locker, throwing on the accouterments of the modern day gladiator, bullet proof vest, leather gear, then heading into a briefing room to hear all the "watch fors" before hitting the mean streets of the city.
I see a fireman, perhaps the first at the station to rise, start the coffee and begin breaking eggs for a crew's breakfast. As he does so he's preparing to respond to a home fire, or a medical call, or manhandling the jaws of life to extract a driver from a crushed vehicle.
I see a soldier, who awakes from sleep on a rocky crag in Afghanistan, ready to patrol a Taliban-held stronghold, whose mission this day is successful if a school room full of little Afghani girls are safe from an enemy that punishes with death little girls who dare to learn math and science.
In my own little community I see a thousand volunteers heading out each morning to clean bed pans in hospitals, who ladle soup in soup kitchens, who serve as teachers aids in our school rooms, as they strive to continue to serve a purpose, even into their "golden years".
I see working moms and dads ferrying their children to school before they head out to a job that they fear might not be there tomorrow. They pray that the now ten year old family car will not break down, or perhaps they're thinking about formulating another culinary configuration of hamburger for the evening supper table.
It is often said that we can't see the forest for the trees. Likewise, perhaps we need to look less at America as a "conglomeration" of political movements and insurmountable problems and look a little more often at "Americans". These white and blue and green collar heroes get up each day and go out to make America just a little better than she was before, or try to.
Who knows what a morning will bring? This morning my heart was a little lighter, and my love for America a little deeper, at the sight of a little girl in gym suit and leggings; she's my heroine this day.