a sabbatical rest, day 188
We’ve been back in the USA for five days now, and are looking at all we have to do before my sabbatical ends and I return to the classroom at the end of August. For one thing, we have four adult children and eleven grandchildren spread out across the country with their families. We’ve hung out with one son and his crew here in Chicago for a few days, and leave for Michigan tomorrow. The following week, we’re headed to Florida to see my great aunt, who deserves (and will get) a blog post of her own.
By the end of the month, we will be out near Seattle with another son, and we have a third son and a daughter in Michigan who we are looking forward to spending some time with as well. I teach an online course that begins this month, and we have lots of catching up to do at church. So, we have needed this week, which has turned out to be fairly laid back. Playing Bagha Chaland taking walks with Elias and Elena has been the perfect bridge for us. We cooked out with our family this afternoon and ended the evening watching fireworks from our hotel room on the 7th floor in Oak Brook.
Someone asked me on social media if I kissed the ground when I got back, and, having traveled to Anguilla, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Israel, Haiti, Dominican Republic, China, Ireland, Sweden, Argentina, India, and Nepal, I’ve gotten over that impulse. Travel has made me less at home anywhere and more at home everywhere. But every time I return to the US, I am grateful for the freedom and prosperity we enjoy and the ideals that animate those blessings, however poorly executed they may be. America is as divided and dysfunctional as when I left five months ago. But there is hope and potential and progress.
Not everybody has those things. I just returned from a socialist country with a communist government, where “equality” usually means less for everyone, except bankers and bureaucrats. Nepal is one of the ten poorest countries in the world; scarcity is the only equality that is guaranteed when problems are solved with central planning that is poorly executed and overly regulated. I think there is potential there. Even fragile progress. But hope is much harder to come by. Many of the young people I met are trying to get out of the country. Here, many people are trying to get into the country.
Me too. We had challenges getting out of Nepal, back into the US. But I never wondered if it was worth the effort. I’m not just talking about hot water whenever you want it. Not every American has that. Infrastructure and money can be unevenly available and unfairly distributed. But we have stronger ground to stand on, and higher ground to take, which is what we celebrate today. As a nation, we staked our claim to inalienable rights endowed by our Creator. Even our discontents are rooted in that ideal.
Most people in the world cannot expect those rights, and many cannot even imagine them. We can, as a rule, do both. Because of this, we can and should work to ensure them for all our people, believing it is possible and necessary.
And that we will succeed.