Some thoughts this 4th of July weekend…
Books that make you think
The girls and I got busy reading Where the Wind Leads last month.
(I have read this book before…all about that back HERE…but in my frenzy to try to get my girls loving reading more, I picked this one to read aloud to them. I wanted to re-read and I knew it was something that would touch them.)
We read to Claire while she cleaned out the garage. And while Lucy did the dishes.
We read waiting at the doctor’s office.
We read in the car.
We read sprawled out on the couch.
And for the last few days we calculated we needed to read fifty pages a day to finish it up before we all split ways. Some days I wondered if it was making my girls hate reading rather than loving it. Ha!
But honestly, I think deep-down we all loved that productive time together, learning so much about the world and the journeys of others. The things they learn from those journeys and what we can learn vicariously through them.
On our last day I got the girls up early so we could finish the last twenty pages of our book, all snuggled in Lucy’s bedroom together.
I read through tears thinking about all that we take so for granted here in America, about “where the wind has led me.” I did nothing to deserve my parents, my family, where I live, the gospel, just like Vinh (the author) as a three-year-old kid fleeing from Vietnam didn’t have any power to guide his little fishing boat that was picked up by the humanitarian group in the South China Sea that ultimately led to a church group sponsoring he and his family in Arkansas…and eventually brought him to graduate from Harvard Medical School.
And as I contemplate the 4th of July this weekend, these thoughts keep running through my head.
“What makes someone and American? From a legal perspective the answer is simple…but I’ve come to believe that being an American involves more than a birthplace, legal status, or ancestry; it involves a set of shared values and beliefs about opportunity, prosperity, and fairness. Generations of refugees and immigrants who came to this country understood and shared those values and beliefs, and by doing so some of them became more American than many who were born here.”
Yes, in this book Vinh Chung is talking about America. That is where the wind led him. And OH! I am so grateful for this country of mine. The opportunities it has given me and my family. But I think this thought relates to all of us humans living in this world.
“I am a refugee, and I always will be. But in a way, all of us are refugees. We are all born in a time and place we didn’t choose, born without language, property, or money…we are all strangers in a strange land, left to fend for ourselves…and as we find our way in this world we need to help others do the same. We all have been blessed–every one of us–and we are all expected to give back.”
What do we do with it? The goodness in our lives? Something I’m continually striving to figure out.
So grateful for this land of opportunity. And that my girls and I got to ponder it all together as we read the miraculous story of someone who was led here by the wind, used his opportunities to learn and grow in so many ways, and taught us to be even more grateful.
Happy 4th of July!
If you like books that give you a window into the lives of others, try these ones:
(I know I already talked about that one in this post, but this link has more info. and I want to have it in this list.)