Wednesday, June 30, 2010

America My Home

I have a great love and appreciation for the country of my birth, the United States of America. I know I'm blessed to have been born here. Yesterday I spent the day with three of my young cousins, which always gives me joy. I was discussing with the two older ones the blessings we have in America.  Most middle-class and upper class children in America have no idea how blessed they are, (for the most part) and how fortunate they are to have been born in a great, first-world country, like the U.S. Like all children, they don't realize how most children in the world live, especially those in third world countries. When I asked my cousins (7 years old and 11) if they knew that many children in Haiti are living in tents, they couldn't quite understand that or what it meant. Tents are for camping, not for living in for long periods of time. It's hard for them to visualize that. And they're not alone. Years ago when I was teaching teenage girls in a Catholic high school in Brooklyn, I showed them a video about Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Missionaries of Charity. The girls were in disbelief. They couldn't believe that some people actually lived in those horrific conditions. They doubted what they were seeing. We take a lot for granted. 
So as the July 4th weekend begins, I thank God for the "land of the free and the home of the brave" (The National Anthem). And I thank God my Italian immigrant grandparents  made the arduous trip to America and settled here in New York. New York City, one of the greatest cities in the world, with a dynamic and creative energy that must be experienced to be fully understood. 
Sadly, America is going through a difficult time. We need an ourpouring of God's grace. When I heard yesterday (as the stock market plunged on Tuesday) that consumer confidence was down, it was no surprise to me. Confidence is down period, everywhere, not only for consumers, but also for job seekers, for retirees, for the people in the Gulf region of the U.S., for Europeans and many Americans as well. 
The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues. That's surreal in itself. And then there's all the job losses in America, so many people out of work, that may never work again. 
How do people live without prayer, hope and belief in God? I can't imagine, that's a mystery to me. I always have hope for a better tomorrow which stems from my deep faith and my relationship with God. Being a Christian means having hope in God's saving plan. America has always been a blessed country, many people feel that way, not just me. It's a country built on religious values and truths, religious freedom and belief. 
Happy July 4th Weekend! May God's grace be with us. It's needed.