Yesterday was full of celebrations. Fireworks, food, families, friends, music, flags. We Americans are proud of our independence, as well we should be.
Sometimes, though, I think we ought to recognize and celebrate our interdependence as well. We wave our flags and celebrate independence, but, in reality, we are truly an interdependent nation, an interdependent people.
In other words, we depend on each other.
We depend on the military to protect our freedoms and independence.
Think about just one routine day. Most of us depend upon the person who delivers the paper, the person who delivers the mail. Perhaps we depend on those who write the news articles in the newspaper. We depend upon those who deliver the news on radio and TV.
We depend on other drivers to travel with care.
Generally, we depend on teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers. We depend on farmers, wholesalers, retailers.
We depend on friends and family to be there for us, in good times and in bad. We rely on doctors, nurses, hospital personnel; cooks and chefs in restaurants; employers and fellow employees.
We depend on architects to design and engineers to build safe buildings, bridges and roads. We rely on inspectors to look out for consumers. We depend on bus drivers, pilots, train conductors.
We trust and depend on counselors and religious leaders.
We depend on others and others depend on us. After my husband - The Dawg - died ten days ago, I depended on many people - and still do. In his last weeks, he depended on me to do things he had always done for himself. We depended on our own prayers and on the prayers of others.
It’s fine to celebrate our independence, but perhaps we ought to take time to reflect on just how interdependent we are as well. Can you think of several people who depend on you? How about people you depend on? Who are they and why you rely on them?
We can’t do without each other, can we? As John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.”
How fortunate we are to have each other! How fortunate we are to have not only our independence but also our interdependence.