Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

It's funny how this holiday is usually referred to as the 4th of July. That's the date, yep, sure is - but why do we use that as the moniker rather than it's title? Why not say Happy Independence Day?

We don't say Happy January 1st, or Merry December 25th, or wish folks a joyous 25th of Kislev (that's the date on the lunar Hebrew calendar when Chanukah starts, y'all - it varies on the Gregorian solar calendar, but is consistent on the lunar one - the more you know!).  Those holidays are all keyed in to both a day, but more importantly, to an event or concept. We focus on the event or concept, not the calendar tile.

Muffins for 'Murrrica
Except when it comes to the 4th of July. Then we're all about the date. 'Cause, you know, independence - that whole event, that whole concept, eh, no big deal.

Um, what?

I started thinking about this while I was baking some muffins just now. Some red, white, and blue (fresh raspberries, cream cheese, fresh blueberries) muffins.  Patriotic dang muffins! Muffins for Independence Day... though most people at the cookout will say 4th of July. Which is weird.

I thought about it first in terms of my country, which I do dearly love. I may critique policies and politicians from here to high heaven, but the freedoms we have here allow me to do so and that's a big part of what I love. The right to agree and disagree, to be part of an ongoing conversation.

Then I thought about it in terms of myself, an autonomous individual about to become part of a legally recognized union. And oddly, when I thought about independence in terms of relationships, well - I realized that we put a lot more importance on independence in that context. Think about it. Being dependent is a bad thing; it implies immaturity and moochie-ness. Being co-dependent is even worse, and means you and your beloved crazy probably need therapy. Independence, that's the strongest position. Right?

I've been proud of my independence for years. And when I honestly think about it, it's something I'm a little scared of losing. Self-reliance. Complete autonomy. Having my default become thinking more often in couplets rather than in single lines. It would seem like a huge transition...

...except it's already been underway for so long. Because "forging a new union," of any sort, is not something that happens overnight. It doesn't come down to one moment, or one date. It comes down to a concept. But maybe the real concept on this occasion is something that manages to be bigger than  independence without devaluing it: the difficult but imperative act of uniting.

So yeah, then - as far as emphasizing the date on this particular holiday... well, I guess when we're planning to unite in celebration of independence by having a cookout or doing some poolside sunning, it's just easier to focus on a date rather than on something so much more complex.

Also, muffins! (Happy 4th of July, y'all.)

This plate is for our neighbors. Awww.

1 comment:

  1. Independent is good; dependent is not necessarily bad. Interdependent can create a new synergy.