Stability. The white picket fence. The American Dream. The Fourth of July is Independence Day for the United States. Today, Americans celebrate Independence Day for many reasons. Thankfully, because of ALL who fight for freedom, freedom continues to reign and the free world has the opportunity to enjoy freedom. Though, for many, “freedom” seems to be considered more of a luxury and not a staple of these times of economic hardship. If the United States and much of Europe is suffering, consider the effects of this flailing global economy upon “third world” nations that were already suffering before this current economic crisis. I’m not trying to be political, but this is a political holiday and appreciation is so very important, especially now; as it should be for always.
I would like to soften the tone by focusing on something more personal. I want to go back to the “white picket fence”. My mom said that she always wanted the white picket fence. As a teenager, I knew what she meant, but I didn’t understand what she meant until I was much older. When I finally understood, I understood the underlying yearning that fueled her intention. What is the significance about the white picket fence? Home ownership? Thankfully, through my dad’s hard work, my family has always been Blessed with a home. Home is where the heart is. Stability? We lived in a very stable environment, always surrounded by love. The American Dream? In 1968, I was only eleven months old when my mom and I left the Philippines and immigrated to the United States. My dad emigrated six months earlier in order to establish a home for us. My dad had been hired by one of the fastest growing companies in the United States and this opportunity was his chance to bring our family to the “Land of Opportunity”. My dad gave us the American Dream. So, what did my mom yearn?
Peace; the peace that comes from hard work done well; the peace that comes from appreciating every Blessing, especially the small ones; the peace that comes from looking out the window, across the lawn and appreciating the simple things: a white picket fence.
I couldn’t understand my mom’s yearning until I lived for more than myself.
Never discount the value of hard work. Never discount the value of perseverance. Never discount the value of dreams. If my parents didn’t pursue any, and all, of these values, we wouldn’t be where we are
Forty-three years after I immigrated to the United States with
my mom, I’m teaching my three children to always make the effort, especially when it’s inconvenient. I’m teaching my three children how to successfully overcome adversity and persevere. I’m teaching my three children how to dream with purpose.
July 4th, Independence Day is an annual reminder that
freedom is NOT a right. Freedom is earned. Choice is the Greatest responsibility of all. I’m doing my best to be responsible with my choices. I’m doing my best to prove to myself that I’m worthy of the incomparable freedom that Blesses my life and my family.
I believe that the song “Our House” radiates the same ethereal
peace that the image of the white picket fence did for my mom.
I can’t help but smile when I sing this song. It happens every time! So, Celebrate! But, don’t forget to Appreciate! ;)
"Our House" is a song written by British singer-songwriter Graham Nash, most famously recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on their 1970 album Déjà Vu. It reached #30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song refers to Nash's brief affair with Joni Mitchell at the time Crosby, Stills Nash and Young recorded the Déjà Vu album. What is interesting about this song is the underlying complex moral struggle Nash was facing between the hippy era free love mentality and the desire for a monogamous relationship. While other songs on the seminal album explore the hippy notion of free love, “Our House” is the song of a man who yearns for stability in his relationship, house-ownership, and family life.
Graham Nash shares the story behind the song in an audio
interview recorded in conjunction with Michael Walker's book Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood "...once you walked into that front door, everything disappeared ...and then I started to think, you know, God, that's an incredibly domestic scene, you know, here we are, Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash, and I'm, you know, put flowers in the vase and light the fire and stuff, and I thought, but you know, I love this woman, and this moment is a very grounded moment... in our relationship, and... I sat down at the piano and, an hour later, 'Our House' was done."
The song has been covered by a number of artists, including The
Onyx, Phantom Planet, Sheena Easton, Kidsongs and Sharon,
Lois and Bram. It was also used as a commercial jingle for Eckrich sausage in the 1980s, and has appeared in various television shows and films.