You know that feeling when you see your face on the Jumbotron at a game or when you find $20 laying on the sidewalk? That’s how I felt when I saw that Think Kit had published the prompt I submitted, above. Giddy. Gleeful. The one emoji with the toothy grin and upturned eyes.
And now I feel it would be a crime not to lean down to examine the tracks that sent my train of thought in the direction of the prompt, even though, technically, Think Kit ended weeks ago.
All we know is the trickle down effect of what HAS happened. Does anyone ever consider where we would be if what COULD have happened, DID happen? Human history could’ve gone a million different ways, depending on decisions made in a different direction, battles going awry, treaties and contracts left unsigned, et cetera, et cetera.
That’s wild to think about, philosophical discussions aside.
Take the American Revolution, for instance. I’ve found myself wondering what life would be like if Great Britain had squashed the colonial uprising (bear with me here, I plead the First Amendment). Who would be living in this area we know as the United States? Surely the king would’ve put tighter restrictions on immigration, so a large possibility exists that the great great great grandparents of millions of current citizens would’ve never made it through Ellis Island during the early 1900s. My great grandfather came to the United States from Austria, so, in my case, I suppose I’d be a German-speaking Austrian mädchen if the modern-day US was an extension of the UK. I’m also not certain my parents would’ve adopted my Chinese sisters. I also probably wouldn’t have a clue as to the existence of my Colombian-born boyfriend.
I’m so glad the underdogs won the Revolutionary War.
This past 4th of July (when all of these musings really began), offered me a new perspective on what it means to be an American in light of our history as a nation. I spent the holiday with my best friend in Chicago, and, more specifically, at Foster Beach off Lake Shore Drive. We had packed up a picnic dinner of guacamole and taco fixings before heading to the park to observe the Fourth of July festivities. We walked past dozens of little gatherings of people in camping chairs, hammocks and tents. Some camps had rap as their background soundtrack, others had mariachi music and others sang along to country in cowboy hats. Feasts varied between hot dogs and brats, hamburgers and Latin American meats. This marvelous miscellany captivated me. People of every ethnicity, background and story were all celebrating America at the same time, in the same place.
As I observed this beautiful blending of cultures sprawled across Lake Shore Drive, I realized I was standing in the middle of a manifestation of history. In that moment, I experienced a new sense of pride for this nation, and a deep appreciation for how God has been present at every point in our history to grant all of us in this big, magnificent melting pot our freedoms.
We are very blessed indeed.