The fireworks last night were amazing.
There is something about the fountain at Lake Eola that most of us in Orlando are drawn to. Lake Eola is a central identifiable icon that is in no way visually associated with Disney, Universal, or Sea World. While the rest of the world comes descending onto our town, (happily and thankfully!) we who live here spend very little time enamored with the visions of Mickey, Spiderman, nor Shamu.
We look at our fountain. Our little monument of local life. And last night it could not have been more beautiful, as the fireworks were bursting above it, exploding with bombastic, thunderous pulse just beyond the palm trees, just a stone skipped across the lake towards the fountain, towards the heart of this city, you could feel a pervasive and sudden calm around this city’s citizens. No one felt left out. No one felt alone. We were all American.
I was once and foremost so very proud to be an American. But, that’s easy to say, isn’t it? It’s different to actually take it, hold it, enjoy it, and remind ourselves of it without the brilliant display of pageantry….day after day. But, that is something that we MUST do. For being an American needs to become more of a state of mind, a contemplative endeavor, a daily reminder.
We’ve spent so many recent weeks in division, pushing away each other, categorizing each other into groups that require validation, and respect. But last night, I saw my little town squarely pulled together around a fountain of light, a beacon of us, a trumpeting call of triumph, that for one moment we were reminded that we were without hyphens. We were one, devoid of past transgression, holding closely to the present, bright eyed with smiles looking hopefully towards the future. We are here, we are now…and we could be one America.
So, one day later, I saw it begin again. The definite call from one side of one argument to another. And I shook my head, knit my little heart out, thought about it, and decided, yes….weaken those divisions.
Don’t allow arguments of the past to divide us now. We are America. Each morning we wake, we are blessed with the brilliance afforded us not allowed in so many places in the world. Our demands can often make our grievances look silly.
Our lives are so better lived here than many in other nations can hope to claim, and the more we allow arguments from yesterday to hinder how we speak to each other today, the less promising our future becomes. Any one of us can bury our hands deep into the soul of this great nation, pull out the dirt from under us, hold it in our hands and say, “I am of THIS land. THIS land gives me power. I can do anything.”
It’s ok to say goodbye to the past. If we hold the past as an argument for our own injustices, then we won’t see the beauty of what we can be. If we stop separating ourselves into categories, then we could finally be a unified nation. Only as one people with monikers of race and sexual orientation dismissed, could we finally be one country.
It’s time for this country to let go of it’s desperate, daily need for titles that recognize separation, and cling closer to the concept of communion. One blessed people. One blessed America. I’m gonna get back to knitting now, not as a Gay-American, not as an Irish-American…..but, as a Blessed-American.
This is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.
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