The minor burns have been worth it.
Every year during Fourth of July week, my hubby and I load up our boys and head to Nebraska where they spend a week at Grandpa and Grandma’s house blowing things up with their cousins.
When they were younger, in preparation for the trip they’d carefully choose toys that would meet their demise strapped to a pack of firecrackers. A stuffed Superman. Matchbox cars. McDonalds Happy Meals trinkets. . . The boys had a blast lighting up those little cylinders of gun powder and afterwards assessing the damage.
Before you call the Department of Human Services on me for allowing my kids to play with fire, refer to sentence number one. We’ve been doing this since my 17-year-old was in preschool and the only injury that has occurred aside from very minor burns to little fingers, was the year that the Roman Candle tipped over and started shooting sideways instead of up. (And that was minor as well, though it did definitely raised the heart rates a bit.) But even with that little mishap, it’s been worth it.
If you ask any of my boys “What’s your favorite week of the year?” they will tell you Fourth of July week. In fact, the two oldest chose not to go on a youth group trip one summer because it interfered with this family tradition. I love that my children love being with their extended family. And when I think about our oldest getting ready to begin his senior year of high school, it makes me a little sad that this tradition will come to an end. But long after we’ve lit our last firecracker wrapped super-hero figurine, we will fondly remember the experience and the memories.
And when I think about the reason the holiday exists and the sacrifices that were made so my kids have the opportunity to eat popsicles and turn Superman into a pile of ash, I am grateful. Grateful for the people in generations before us who endured real fire fights, serious injuries and even death in war so we can enjoy a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
I’m also grateful to God who not only placed my family in the beautiful Midwest in a nation of vast freedoms, but also gave my three adventurous boys years and years of Fourth of July memories. And beyond that, I’m thankful that this freedom we have because of the sacrifice of men is nothing when compared to the freedom I have because of Christ’s sacrifice.
So much of what I have to be thankful for has nothing to do with my striving and everything to do with others laying down their lives for me.
It is a blessed life I get to live here in the U.S. because many men gave their lives up for my freedom. And it’s a blessed life I will live in eternity because Jesus gave his life up for my sins.