I get by with a little help from my friends. I love that song, always have, but as I get older it hits me in the feels a little more. I have been on my own for a long time. But I always have had some people standing behind me keeping me propped up, and gathered a few more good ones along the way. We need that, you know? I see people sometimes that don’t have that. I saw one the other day, on my drive to work. I drive past the Salvation Army some days, and there was a guy sleeping on the bench outside. 7 am on a Wednesday. Breaks my heart because I know what ultimately is at the root of things like that, mental illness and substance abuse that is out of hand. No friends to help them get by.
We have a lot, as a nation. Our independence declared 245 years ago gave us the ability to stand down from the monarchy and make our own way. A group of guys did it, with the help of each other. But they couldn’t know what 200+ years later would look like. And what life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would do to some people, and how it may leave some others behind. We built our strong military, but they didn’t know that in the late 1960s and early 70s we would be in a war that would alienate a lot of our soldiers and cause a stream of PTSD and substance abuse and mental illnesses that ended up crippling a part of a generation. How could they know? They were still getting around on horses and boats and stuff. They gave us a path to grow from, but not a way to manage our growth that they couldn’t really predict. Thankfully the rise of veteran support groups help some of these folks, and now the Vietnam vets are being treated with the respect they earned, by most people. They got a little help from their friends too, so to speak.
The 4th of July brings a lot of patriotic fervor, as well it should. It’s a fun time, a long weekend and our birthday as a nation. Scrolling the Facebook can make you proud to be an American, but it can also knock you down a little when you see some of the posts people come up with that are supposed to be patriotic, but end up really being quite racist, homophobic and generally ugly. I won’t get specific, but all men created equal is just a catch phrase to some. I saw some ugly things lately, as it was just Pride Month, and it breaks my heart a lot. People just don’t seem to get that equal rights for all means equal rights for all, not just those you agree with. That’s a heavy burden, hating like that.
Other fantastic things our nation does do, however, is give people that come here from other countries an opportunity to become an American citizen. It takes some time, a lot of money, and plenty of hoops to jump through, but it can be done. I learned this week that a couple of my friends were recently naturalized. My heart was so happy! They have been working on it a long time, and now they are Americans. They got by with a little help from their friends as well. It takes a lot of support to make it through that process. I am so proud and happy for them, and they will be great at being Americans. I always tried my best to support my friends seeking citizenship, writing recommendation letters, driving them to appointments, little things. We depend on each other, and we help each other out. It feels good.
When times get tough, as they sometimes do, declaring your independence to get through it may seem like the thing to do, but you have to ask for a little help sometimes too. When you are independent, people tend to not offer the help, because you don’t seem to “need” it. It’s ok to be dependent sometimes, to ask for help. It’s the toughest thing for me, because I do get by on my own most of the time, but I have gotten better. I have seen where dependence is bad, in some relationships, and that is another thing for another day. But as we celebrate the idea of independence, remember that most of us do that together, as we are a nation of people, and people really do need people to get by in life. I thank all of you that take the time to read this stuff when I get rolling. All of you that lift me up at the gym, the job and the life. It’s good to remember that a wrong turn here or there could have made things in life much worse, for all of us, had we not had someone near us to set our course back to forward. Be independently dependent on your people, and they can do the same for you!
Enjoy your holiday weekend, eat some food, drink some beverages, shoot off some fireworks. You are free, hopefully happy, and remember to help someone out, when you can. You will always be right when you come from a place of peace and love.