I love Independence Day.
I love the fireworks. I love seeing the faces of children as they look up at the sky. And I love seeing the faces of parents as they watch their kids.
I love watching the Macy’s Fireworks parade on television with my wife. The patriotic songs from the military bands. The not so patriotic pop acts.
I love driving to the field on the hill in our town. A prime spot to see live fireworks from miles around.
I love knowing our country was born of a desire to escape persecution and tyranny. I love knowing people were willing to throw down body and soul with everything they had to establish their independence. I love that a perfectly imperfect republic came as a result of it, one that continues 240 years later.
I love July 4.
And I love July 5 more.
Because after the celebrations, the pomp, the pageantry, the barbecues, the fireworks…
Comes July 5.
And July 6.
And August 1. And November 12, etc.
Now it starts.
It’s easy to celebrate independence. Living it is a whole other story.
Quick history: July 4 was the day the Declaration of Independence was signed by all the delegates. In reality, the war started the year before and didn’t officially end until 1783.
Yeah, it was a war. Nine years of terrible suffering, deprivation and any number of things that made the colonists question their commitment.
And after the war, a new nation that had to figure everything out, and still fend off the British, the Mexicans, the Spanish and Native Americans (the injustice behind that being a whole other story).
No one went, “Presto! You have independence! Congratulations!”
Everything that comes after the decision is when it happens.
Because if you don’t defend your commitment – if you don’t live it – you don’t get to keep it.
Whatever your building in your life – your business, your career, your relationships, your health, your spirituality – if you don’t live it everyday, you don’t get to keep it.
By all means, celebrate the event. Celebrate the signing.
The joy of the real works starts afterward.
Happy July 5. It’s your time.