Today started as a normal Monday. As I dragged my butt out of bed, the dogs danced, urging me to go directly to their food bowls. Instead, I headed for the coffeemaker. After my requisite two cups, I led the way downstairs for their breakfast. Then, since the weather was gorgeous, I went along outside while they took care of business. I sat down on a step to wait. And that’s where the normal ended.
I heard some faint music. At first, I thought I was hearing things – because I do that – but then it became unmistakable: “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
It was beautiful. In my green, green backyard, surrounded by trees and chirping birds and my beloved dogs. The dilapidated putting green. Hops curling up the deck railing. Hose still lazing in the grass from yesterday’s watering. Home.
Sadly, my reverie didn’t last long. Before too many bars of music had played, I was already wondering about the motivation of my DJ. Was he feeling nostalgic about last week’s Independence Day celebrations? Or, was she just looking at her own yard and feeling the love of her freedom and her country this morning? Or – and this is when my heart dropped – does this song represent to the player not the whole of the United States of America, but just the part that sits on his or her side of the aisle?
We all know how incredibly divided our country is right now. How incredibly unwilling we are to listen to one another. But when we put party before country, when electability beats doing the right thing, we shame America.
Likewise, I haven’t been acknowledging my whole self recently. I’ve not written much. The events of the past year have stunned and depressed me. I’m more introverted and withdrawn. I’m much less willing to put myself “out there.”
I want to turn that around.
I want the person who played “The Star-Spangled Banner” this morning to play it for the whole country. And me? I want to take this message to heart. I want to stop hiding and start hearing the part of me that wants to listen. To write. To reconnect.