The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of this newspaper. We welcome supporting or opposing views on any published item. Received June 27, 2022.
By Meghan Peterson
Iubilare – to shout with joy
Summer has arrived. Summer is a season. It is a feeling. You know the old saw: “summertime feeling.” Summer is an experience. Summer is a mode of life.
My boys are tickled pink with the fact that they can get away with not having a bath until close to 9:00 p.m. – when nightfall darkness is just beginning. Summer is settling into their bones and their dispositions.
Oh, make no mistake: Four-Year-Old and Toddler are joyful and mischievous year ‘round, but there is something specifically and downright jubilant about the way they speak and move right now. There is a heightened, amplified level of freedom and carefree joie de vivre.
This talk brings us to the Fourth of July, which is not simply or only a summer hallmark, as some may think.
The Fourth of July constitutes a jubilant celebration centering on the moniker I prefer to use – America’s Independence Day: that fateful day is both a culmination of hard, gritty work to become free from British tyrannical oppression and exploitation, and a harbinger of the continued, uniquely American project toward freedom and a more perfect Union.
At its core, rejoicing simultaneously takes and gives off energy. It is an act that requires very real and durable conditions of liberty – of autonomy, even – in order to “shout with joy.” For example, when I attempt to corral Four-Year-Old and Toddler to return inside for bath time, and they run away from me in the yard, laughing gleefully and “shouting with joy” as they do so, they rejoice at the prospect of victory over Mama. Their rejoicing comprises two components: one – the knowledge that they are exercising their independence from me (albeit momentarily); and two – the autonomy that they are making a decision separate from and in contrast to Mama.
Their liberty and autonomy in this enactment of rejoicing is humorously beautiful. And these concepts bring to mind the many reasons for celebrating our country’s Independence Day – with the liberty and autonomy in knowing that we can choose to be a part of America’s ongoing history.
As Americans, we can choose to carry the mantle of inalienable rights to life and liberty and rejoice when we uplift these principles. As Americans, we can choose to confront our mistakes and rejoice when we correct them. As Americans, we can choose to address others with dignity and respect, rejoicing in reverence for human life through a life-and liberty-affirming paradigm underscored in “We The People” of our nation’s founding document, the U.S. Constitution.
Here is to a liberty-filled, jubilee-abundant Independence Day to you and your family!