Three Thoughts on People-ing

Meditations in Motion

Bill, my husband and running partner, and I ran through the park in our small town on the Fourth of July.

Typically, we would avoid the park like the plague on that day. Lititz usually goes all out to celebrate the Fourth and a run through the park would mean weaving and dodging all the Independence Day revelers.

There are customarily games, food stands, a parade, music in the bandshell, and in the evening a Queen of Candles is crowned. A huge fireworks display tops off the festivities.

This year’s events were canceled due to the pandemic. Most Fourth of July celebrations were quiet, small, and subdued.

The muted nature of the day invited ruminations about just what it means to be an American. “What does it mean to be a people?” I wondered.

Here are three of my thoughts on the subject.

Meditations in Motion

  1. Being a people is sort of like being a family. We all don’t always agree on everything but we must have our collective best interest at heart. We may squabble amongst ourselves but we will fiercely defend each other from outside attacks. The glorification of the individual has put our “peoplehood” to the test. We no longer seem to believe in forsaking our own best interests for the greater good. We want everything to go our way all the time and we want it now.If we observe family members acting this way, we would rightly conclude  “dysfunctional“. We must recognize that for our people to win, we all must be winners. Everyone must have a stake in our success, not just the fortunate few.
    Meditations in Motion
  2. To be a people, we must acknowledge a common history. When the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, they faced hardship, yes, but they also became more than a ragtag collection of former slaves. Their shared hardship made them a people.Americans become a people when we learn and accept the truest version of our shared history. It isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always uplifting or inspiring or even bearable at times.

    But, whether your family has lived here for 400 years or 4 months, subsuming our shared history into our hearts is the first step to becoming a people.

    Our shared history is not found in monuments, statues, or memorials. It is found in our stories and our people.

    Meditations in Motion

  3. If your friends, leaders, and heroes sow strife, division, and hate, it may be time for new friends, leaders, and heroes.A people’s destiny is bound together.For us to succeed as a people, we must be inclusive, egalitarian, and fair. To shun certain groups or blame them for our hardships is a dangerous and selfish fantasy.

    Rather than looking to place blame elsewhere, we must ask ourselves, “What could I do to proliferate peace?”

Being an American means being free. Free to care for one another. Free to have a better opportunity to realize our dreams. Free to stand together, united and secure, to face adversity.

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.Harry S. Truman

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

68 comments

  1. I am curious how Fourth of July went, hoping it was overall a safe day. You make a great point on how “being a people is sort of like being a family.” All of your words gave me goosebumps, Laurie. I could feel your heart-felt emotion. Focusing on the “I” also says a great deal. A beautiful, powerful post.💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dysfunctional: (adj) Not operating normally or properly. Deviating from the norms of social behavior in a way regarded as bad. Yes, I’d say this sums up the U.S. pretty succinctly. It’s impossible to read a post like this without putting your own spin on it. I read it and say ‘Aargh! The Trumpers!’ Someone else will read it and say ‘Yes, those liberals.’

    When I bash the Trumpers, I try to do it by simply giving facts and saying how that makes me feel. Every now and then I succumb to name calling which in retrospect makes me feel bad about myself. We *all* need to move beyond the name-calling if we ever want to have a dialogue. Calling people unpatriotic or fascist solves nothing. It only drives us farther apart. Thanks for a measured post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I deliberately tried to write the article that way, Jeff. Liberals and conservatives could all see themselves there. I wanted to reach the greatest number of people. If I start from one viewpoint or the other, I automatically lose half the readers before I even get to make my point.

      We do need to move beyond petty name-calling. It serves no one other than maybe foreign interests who want to see us fail.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There are good people and not good people. I think being a people means you have to acknowledge that dichotomy and act in the best interest of all the good people concerned, not selfishly. That’s my way of parsing people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are good people and not good people but most of us fall somewhere in between. We must learn to act unselfishly for the common good of the entire population. I think your way of parsing people is a good way.

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  4. Laurie, hi! And wow, #3.

    All that’s swirling around us can be an opportunity for us to deeply examine what we believe, what we value, what we’re willing to go to the mat for.

    Thanks for the reminder how valuable others are to God, to our country, and to us personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are exactly right, Linda. I think this chaotic time is the perfect time for us to reexamine our hearts. We are all part of the same body in Christ.

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  5. It’s funny how often we use the term “my people” when we’re with a group that seems especially similar to us. I know I’ve used it when I’m with others who share common interests. Yet our people includes such a broad swath of humanity; may we keep our circles growing ever wider. Thanks for these insights, Laurie!

    Our 4th was much quieter this year too. Usually we have lots of friends and family gathered at my in-laws, but this year we were family-only. But I was still thankful some of at least got to be together, even though physically-distanced!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like this, Laurie. I think too often people are operating as individuals or smaller groups without connecting as a whole people. There’s such an us-against-them feeling in so many categories. It’s heart-breaking. I pray we can get back to looking out for the good of all of us. We’ve never been 100% perfect at it, as a nation. But I don’t recall the atmosphere ever being as divisive as it has been recently, and it’s getting more so. May God help us.

    I love this: “Being an American means being free. Free to care for one another. Free to have a better opportunity to realize our dreams. Free to stand together, united and secure, to face adversity.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been reading the Old Testament recently, Barbara, and thinking about how the Israelites came together and acted as one force. We in the US seem to be traveling in the opposite direction and that is very troubling to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I read this yesterday and decided to think on it before commenting. Much of what you have said resonates for me in relation to our country too. We are so quick to take a stroll in the blame garden, yet ultimately it is up to each of us to be the change we want to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for thinking about your response, Jo. Maybe the blame game is happening worldwide due to social media. Some posters are quick to blame others for their own unhappiness. We DO need to be the change we want to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with you Laurie – these are turbulent times, and not just the Coronavirus. A nation divided and needing guidance and leadership but finding none (IMHO). I long for calm in so many ways. Meanwhile, today is the 54th anniversary of my moving to the U.S. I am still a Canadian citizen, living here on a green card, but I think you know that. P.S. – I wish I could say I was carried here as a babe in arms, but that’s not true and you know that too. 🙂

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  9. It seems to me that the principles that work with family dynamics ought to work with peopling. And when we trespass the boundaries, we end uo offending and becoming odious to each other. These are good thoughts, Laurie.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So well said. I wish that we had more leadership from our leaders that was inclusive, not divisive. It could make a difference.

    But point #1? Sadly so true. Something like a pandemic ought to bring us together, not push us further apart, but I suppose for many social distancing has been the tipping point in a pot that has been boiling a long time.

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  11. I love how you put your thoughts into words. I agree, we as a nation (a people), need to act as a whole. It’s so disheartening how there is such division at the moment. The thing is, I don’t think either “side” is 100% perfect, nor right, in their actions…but they sure are self-righteous. UGH.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kim. We do need to find a way to come together. I get down at the divisiveness and discord that so many people seem to promote. Social media doesn’t help.

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  12. Well said Laurie! I believe these apply to my own country too!
    Unless we see each other as family & accept the good, the bad & the ugly of our joint history. We can not move forward into a fully functional family & will continue in dysfunction…
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I cycle through a lot of ups and downs with current events. I’m sad that I’ve learned some of my long time very close friends harbor terrible racist beliefs. Not only am I struggling with that, but some of those friends are upset with my open minded beliefs! That is the hardest thing of all. I can accept different beliefs in people but what has been unearthed is horrific. Hoping for a change in the fall and stopping the terrible damage that has been done to our country.

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    • I was shocked and saddened by some of my friends’ and relatives’ reactions to recent current events. I guess stress brings out the best and worst in people. I am hoping for a change this fall too.

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  14. Another well written, carefully commented post. You do a good job of naming the problems without name dropping. I hope that allows more people to keep reading, rather than shut down. You make a lot of good points here. Hear, here! Michele

    Liked by 1 person

      • I understand that. A few weeks ago I made a comment in a sermon that really got a few people mad. I said, that America doesn’t need to be great (again) we need to be compassionate, and humble. I said it was a spiritual comment not a political one, but my explanation was not accepted. Still, perhaps I could have said it differently. And at least they were direct in their criticism and rejection of my words, they did not “take their ball and go home.”

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