July 4, 1776
Since 1776 July 4th has been a day to celebrate if you are an American. That was the day that our Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. While the movement to break from England had been building, this was the day, that pen put ink to paper to make it happen.
One sentence from that declaration is rather well known, it is not first sentence, but it is a powerful one:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
There are a few ideas that still ring out today when you read it.
1. All men are created equal – a great foundation – if we are created in the image of God, they we are all equal.
2. We are endowed by our Creator – an early testament to the United States commitment to acknowledge God’s existence and involvement in our lives.
3. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – those are definitely three things that are important to me.
From that historic day, a new way of life was established. A way of life that was not always perfect, but was the best for those that pursued it.
July 4, 1990
214 years after the declaration was signed a whole new life was starting for me, it was not always going to be perfect, but it was the best path for me to pursue, and it was going to lead to happiness. I did lose some liberty in the process – willingly.
Lisy and i had two plans for this day.
1. Have dinner at my house with my mother.
2. Go to my old high school to see the Oak Park fireworks.
Two simple goals. But the day will become memorable for neither reason.
We did have a nice cookout at my mother’s house. Just the three of us, sitting on the patio, eating something like grilled swordfish, salmon and grilled vegetables. It was odd for me in that my mother rarely ate out on the patio, our kitchen was big enough for a table, had plenty of windows and was quite close to the backyard, so it was always easier to eat indoors. But we pulled out all the stops and had a nice dinner outside. We were oblivious to the world outside out little garden.
We had a good time with my mother, unfortunately, part of our conversation was taken up with the discussion of my new medical condition. Monday I was found to be sick with something, Tuesday I had a test to determine the nature of the illness. Now it is Wednesday and we are in a holding pattern until I meet with the doctor in the afternoon.
After our dinner, we went to see the 4th of July fireworks. As always, they were excellent. An impressive display of colors, lights and noise. After the fireworks we headed over to Bety’s house where Lisy was staying with her cousin. We arrived to Bety’s house and went in the kitchen to sit and talk with Bety about the week’s events. Bety’s family had just shared a big meal of BBQ ribs, the bones were stacked high in the middle of the table.
As you may recall, Lisy’s original reason for coming to the states was for a two week visit to do three things: meet her pen pay (me), visit with her cousin Bety and to be a tourist in Chicago. She only had a plane ticket for two weeks. We were down to six days left.
Lisy’s cousin came in the kitchen and just blurted out – “you guys have to decide what you are doing with your lives.” She basically said that we needed to make a decision about our relationship. I recalled that a few nights earlier we had put a stop to relationship conversations because they were crazy conversations. Conversations that were going too fast too soon. How could we talking about our future together after 8 days of knowing each other? I said that I was willing to talk about the situation if Lisy was. Lisy said she was. Bety left and shut the door behind her.
In my broken Spanish, with poor grammar, I proposed to my wife. Translated into English it came out something like this “Will I marry myself to you?” Thankfully, she understood my intent enough to say yes. We were now engaged to be married – after only 8 days.
At this point Bety came back in the room and asked what we had decided. She yelled for joy. At that moment I then realized that I was rather angry at Bety for forcing the decision in that way in that place. See, I had been planning to have a very romantic proposal involving a walk in the park and a trail of roses that led to a proposal. Instead for the rest of my life I have to remember that my proposal to my wife happened in a kitchen with the dinner plates still on the table. Not my idea of romantic.
Therefore, I am the only guy I have ever met that his bride to be see real fireworks on the night that her husband proposed to her.
July 4th 1990 turned out to be a good day. But unfortunately I was on a roller coaster ride of my life. On Saturday I thought my relationship with Lisy was over, on Sunday she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior, on Monday I find out I am very sick and on Wednesday I have my one and only proposal for marriage accepted. What a week of ups and downs and sharp turns. Tomorrow we get the results from the infection/tumor.
Fireworks Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/splunkton/182225052/