my country tis of thee.
i know i have mentioned here before that he came to this country on his own. as a kid of 14. his parents both died when he was very young. left with nothing to lose, he essentially hopped on a ship from Norway, at FOURTEEN on his OWN, with about $15 to his name and came to a country that wasn't his own.
a new language. a new city. a new place. maybe a new hope for a future?
i wonder often about that 14 year old Austin and the fears that must have been present.
or maybe things just were very different 75 years ago.
i look at fourteen year olds now and i can't imagine them making themselves lunch much less find their own way in a foreign place.
i've known many people who don't have to get a job until post college.
i know teenagers who can't hold an actual conversation that doesn't include some form of internet speak. does it really take that much longer to spell out y-o-u?
i wonder what Austin from 75 years ago would think of his modern day counterpart.
their entitlement, their laziness, their lack of drive to do even the most simple of tasks.
i wonder what a modern 14 year old would think to look at what Austin's life may have looked like then? to have to work to support himself and siblings. to be on your own. to be the source of your own food, warmth and support.
i have never been a supporter of the idea that people are a victim of their circumstances.
you ARE who you set out to be.
i have been told in the past that:
i was not smart enough for college.
that i could never be a stay at home mom.
that i could never make a living as an artist.
i say the heck with that. life is what you make it become
yes we all have tough times. we have money trouble and man trouble and life trouble.
but i am convinced, if only from my own path, that anything can be overcome.
and THAT is what makes our country great.
THAT is what Austin got on a ship 75 years ago in search of.
opportunity. chances. good. hope.
even with all of its problems, we still live in the best country in the world. period.
we live in a country where women can vote and drive and speak in public.
we live in a country where we can worship how and whom we choose OPENLY.
we are free. and it came at a price. and will always come at a price.
living here in the southeast it is impossible for us to forget the cost of our freedom.
i can promise that there is not a Virginian who doesn't pass dozens of signs on the side of the road that indicate the what and how of some great battle of the civil war. or about the original settlers. or jamestown or williamsburg.
doug and i have visited a settlement where the entire population vanished without a trace before supply ships could return.
the cost of our freedom surrounds us.
drive down many a southern road and for every huge plantation house that has been preserved, there are dozens that have become dilapidated and hide the stories and the shame of how they got there in the first place.
i adore living here because of the richness of the heritage of this area. for the amazing reminders that i see daily. for the impossibility of forgetting how much it cost for me to be able to go to church where i see fit and to do it alongside a friend of any color.
i am thankful to live in an area that is so rich in memories for what our country is all about.
i am praying to be like that 14 year old Austin.
and to raise two little boys to grow up just like him.
and to all of those fighting for our country so i can do that...thank you. you are the best of the best.
*digital images created by less ordinary designs...dressed up by me. :)