A few weeks or so ago, I was so inspired by a piece I read on The Saturday Evening Post (https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2019/06/what-i-am-fighting-for-my-home-and-yours/) that I was inspired to write my own version of it. I simply changed “I’m” to “I am” and “fighting” to “living”; I, however, kept the last line.
I guess you could say my version is the homefront one.
In the wee hours of the morning, while everyone else was in bed, I was writing this and realized that it would be a good Fourth of July piece. Mine, of course, is not as eloquent as Sgt. Pappas’s, for I’m not a warrior but simply, a writer.
I am living for that big enough house with the wide front porch and Adirondack chairs facing the white picket fence—the house I live in after being touched by homelessness. I am living for the breathtakingly beautiful beaches that I seldom see and the shady, grassy parks with the rusting playground equipment where kids still play, for the towns where I planted memories and the town where I’ve replanted myself. I am living for my daughter—the special one with the incredible memory who understands so much more than she may ever let on. I am living for her children and for those who will look out for her when I am no longer here—those people who may never touch my life but who will touch hers and she, theirs. I am living for the husband who is who he is and who takes care of things while I am away and the things I don’t like to when I am there.
I am living for those churches that still exist, not just to be good but to do good—both the traditional and the non-traditional—these churches that I don’t attend but am glad to know are there. I am living for the schools that have not become factories, for the college I graduated from—with the magnolias that perfume the air and the loquat trees with the fruit that rots in the lower Alabamian summer, for the university with its painted benches and abundance of Spanish moss, for the home with the bunny dollhouse and the never ending stack of children’s library books and the freezer full of novelty ice cream, for the television where we watch “Wheel of Fortune” that has been part of my childhood and part of my adulthood, for the computer where I can pound the keys instead of the pavement, and for the Monopoly game under the coffee table I use to teach my daughter about taking turns when all she wants to do is try to fit the cat into the thimble and the dog into the shoe.
I am living for the house I have now and the house I will have, my town and any other place that may become home, be it for a day or till death separates me from it. I am living for the chance to travel to Iceland and Australia and wherever else English is spoken because that language bespeaks of home. I am living for the country we have now—this land that so many still want to come to.
I am living for the America that will prevail no matter who is in office.
I am living for the right of Americans to separate the powers of the news media from their minds so they can make up their own and live the lives they want—not for their children but for themselves, to work the jobs they need to so that someday, they can work the jobs they want.
I am living for the right of every American to be left alone.
I am living for the freedom we have to eat, drink, and wear whatever we want, to worship or not to worship, to enjoy that freedom we had before and after 9/11. I am living for my faith in an unfair God—unfair because He freely gives us what we could never hope to earn—a life of second and third and seventy times seven chances. I am living for the continuous and fruitless pursuit of the balance between freedom and equality, and for my belief that even when things happen for a bad reason, we can find meaning in what happens and make something good come of it.
We cannot lose.
Mrs. Sarah Richards, “What I am Living For,” July 4, 2019