American Expressions got derailed right out of the box with a blindsiding sinus infection. All I can say is yuck. Many many thanks to James & Taylor for aiding me back to health. The old saying that your health is everything rings especially true when you feel the worst. It is as if "All Health Matters". After two days of fever and sleeping in the darkness, I awoke to a nightmare reality: more death, more killing, more injustice, more intolerance. It's enough to put yourself back into the slumber to avoid the reality of our world. How many of us continue to sleep walk in the face of what's really going on? I had to get up. I had to get the flag out.
On the "Square" in Carrolton, GA I acquired 5 prime parking spots and proceeded to recruit people to share their feelings about being American. I figured there would be some interesting expressions given the national tensions. As I waited, and roasted in the Georgia sun, my fever began to slightly return, and a light headedness started to guide me (towards consuming water foremost). I put up my umbrella and still no visitors. GIANT AMERICAN FLAG. People walking by, side eye glances, no interactions. I had to get my salesman on and draw it out of people. I met Kirk at the coffee shop and he was really out going. He gladly contributed a passage about God. The young lady who kept me hydrated, Madison, offered up God's praises. I am all in agreement that God is great, but is that what you feel about being an American? All the luxuries and ease of life were afforded in our country are attributed to God? When Tracy approached me late in the day expressing his faith, I couldn't hold back and asked how he felt about Islam. He replied politely about the one true god. I wanted to further inquire about our country's freedom of religion and the absolute necessity to respect other's beliefs, but knew I was talking to a true believer and I chose to respect his beliefs.
I always appreciate when people spend a moment and think about what to express upon the flag. A gentleman in the late afternoon calmly listened to my pitch and intently watched as others wrote upon the flag. As his friend were about to leave, he grabbed a marker and bestowed his knowledge upon us, "If you don't stand behind our troops, then try standing in front of them." I like this kind of quippy catchphrase because it can lead to other epiphanies like "you can't trust freedom when it's not in your hands" or "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." I hope we all get behind that last one!
It is a redemptive act when the flag gets refreshed to its red, white, & blue status. I decided to turn this act into a public example of what I think should be done: people working together despite differences to make our country better for everyone. I repainted the flag right there on the Square, right over everyone's precious expressions. I invited people to assist me, providing gloves to keep tidy. But it was HOT and ODD that this stranger wanted help painting a giant American flag. So I put on a performance, a moment of leading by example, to invest my energies, despite the difficulties, to better the condition and situation of our national icon. This American value of hard work is fleeting. I know many will scoff because they are 'hard working folks'. But given the condition of our country today? we have A LOT of hard work to do together, not easy, not pretty, not fun, but absolutely necessary- no two ways about it. And when you don't have any choice, as my Grandpa Bob would say, "Put on a smile, grab a root, and growl."