Grandma Lily’s “Old Glory”

“Old Glory.” That was Grandma Lily’s name for the huge American flag she hung every Fourth of July. Much bigger than an average-sized flag, Old Glory was probably seven or eight feet long. It hung on a rope between the front window of Grandma’s upper flat and an ancient elm tree on the parkway, nearly grazing the heads of those who traveled the sidewalk below.

At our Independence Day get-togethers, Grandma insisted that we gather under Old Glory and say the pledge to the flag.

“It’s important,” she said, “to honor the flag, especially on the Fourth of July.”

But, one day, the elm tree became diseased and the city cut it down. Grandma didn’t mind losing the sick tree in front of her house except that it held up Old Glory. Now, the giant flag had nowhere to fly. So, Grandma folded it up and put it away.

I never saw it again.

I don’t remember us saying the pledge together after that. I think we all knew that Grandma Lily mourned the passing of Old Glory. It was as if there had been a death in the family, and nobody talked about it.

Years later when Grandma was old, I asked her about Old Glory and the pledge to the flag. Grandma, who only had a third grade education, offered a lesson about patriotism that I’d never forget:

“Hardly anyone said the pledge when I was a girl,” she said. “It wasn’t a pledge to our flag, but it was for any old flag. And any old flag meant nothing to most folks. Your family had left Germany for a better place—America. Old Glory wasn’t just a flag to us. It meant living like God wanted, free from a government telling us what to do.

Your dad was five-years old when they made it right:

1923

‘I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’

Then it was our pledge.

And Eisenhower? Well, he made it better by adding ‘under God’ in there. It’s because of God that your family got here. It’s because of God that we’re free.”

She might not have been educated, but Grandma Lily sure was wise.

“Whatever became of Old Glory?” I asked.

She hesitated and then shrugged her shoulders. I think Grandma Lily still couldn’t speak about the memories of her beloved flag—that yellowing old flag with the 48 stars

Old Glory.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.
Psalm 33:12–18 NIV

_____________________________________________

Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles and inspiration for writers. And while you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you’ll click on the “like” button near the top of the page. Thanks!

jan2015FB

_____________________________________________

*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

4 Comments

Filed under Independence Day, Patriotism

How To Build Up Your Relationship With Your Dad

Dads like to fix things. Maybe your dad is or was the kid of father who wanted to fix whatever got broken in your life. Maybe he fixed things just right. Maybe he fixed things too much. Dads sometimes go overboard with their fixing, but they do it out of love.

Human dads make mistakes. There are things that they can’t fix — although some might be reluctant to admit it. Dads are not perfect. They are a dim reflection of God’s image, intended to be Godlike in character but without the Godly power to fix everything that needs fixing . . .

So, you might ask, “Where is God when things get broken?” The answer is:

GOD IS IN THE COMPOST PILE.

Throw together all the broken stuff: the tragedy, crime, pain and suffering, the tattered relationships, and you have a pile of trash so big that no human father could ever knock it down to make something good.

BUT GOD CAN.
Our Heavenly Father breaks down trash
and turns it into sweet, rich soil.

Compost (n.)—Things thrown away, beyond repair, dead and dying; the remnants of destruction broken down and made new; ashes to ashes; enrichment for the soil; food for roots buried deep below the surface; the source of new life.

We see God’s compost in what human fathers (mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins . . . ) CAN do.

We see God’s compost in forgiveness when forgiveness seems impossible, in hugs and gentle words when hearts seem broken beyond repair, in acts of kindness, selfless giving, hard work, rebuilding, and in the restoration of shredded relationships. We see God’s compost in the tincture of time and the drying of tears.

GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER,
IS THE DADDY WHO CAN FIX ANYTHING.

Maybe your dad isn’t or wasn’t all that you want him to be. Maybe he tries, or has tried, to fix things too much or not enough. Maybe your relationship with your dad is in shreds.

Love him anyway.

Honor your dad this Father’s Day by applying a thick layer of God’s compost to the soil of your relationship.

Repair what you can.
Then trust God to fix the rest.

_____________________________

Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles and inspiration for writers. And while you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you’ll click on the “like” button near the top of the page. Thanks!

jan2015FB

_____________________________________________

*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Father's Day, Relationships