With anthrax being a real threat, the advice to "take a deep breath" sounds dangerous; but, the expression is meant figuratively. Like the Scripture's advice to "gird up the loins of one's mind," to "breathe deep" as a nation means that we need to take a moment and collect ourselves. We need to rein in our thoughts, and in particular, our fears. When we fear, we need a moment to compose ourselves.
This July 4th has seen tremendous celebrations across our great land. Honoring those who have lost their lives in what has been the greatest "shock" of America is fitting. Honoring their memory and the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in rescue and recovery efforts is honor well bestowed. But the question that kept coming back to my heart was this: "What advice do you give the living?" "What advice, Lord, can I give my neighbor?" The result was this: "Breathe Deep, America," which started my writing a eulogy of my own.
Why take a moment to collect our fears? National "alerts" are becoming common. We have a greater appreciation for our vulnerabilities, as we should. We now try to picture what could happen. Yet, we each recognize that life must go on. The question is, "How do we 'go on'?" We go on by our strength. Thus entered into my mind our longtime motto: "In God we trust." Strength to face eternity is found in Christ, who promised Eternal Life by faith in him. Strength to face day by day is drawn from the same source: the presence of God, by face. We need to know that the God of our Fathers is still on our side: "Breathe deep, America, feel God's strength inside."
The Spirit of God is the Spirit of life: all life comes from him. God's Spirit is a Spirit of constructive sacrifice, a Spirit that builds and strengthens, that rescues and redeems. His fruit, the results of His presence, are the fruits of joy and peace, diligence and kindness, goodness and grace. He gives true liberty of heart and soul. These thoughts, when coupled with what had been the true target of our national enemy, formed the line: "Liberty is calling."
Indeed, Liberty stands in the streets, midst the rubble and the remains, calling to every facet of our society. Every race, nationality, social standing, occupation, gender and age group within the walls of those buildings were attacked that day. This was no blow to our government; this was a blow to our people. We govern by "we the people." The majority of this world has yet to comprehend what such liberty means. Our lawmakers come from our families and our friends. They are from our neighborhoods, counties and states. We elected and re-elected them. They are "of us."
Since every area of American society was attacked that day, every area of our society has to answer this question: "Will we stand for Liberty?" We could close our doors. We could withdraw ourselves, or we can continue to venture forth. Cautiously? Yes, at times. But, we must continue to live our lives in the liberty that is our inalienable right. With that thought in my mind, this line took shape: "Those who fight for freedom live their lives each day."
How do we fight an invisible foe? Internally, by not allowing fear to conquer faith. We live out our lives by the grace of God. In Him we trust. We live out our lives by faith. The greatest tribute we can give to those who lost their lives that September morning is to go to our jobs and build our future. What would I say to our nation, if I could? Here is the chorus to my eulogy in song:
Breathe deep, America. Feel God's strength inside.
Liberty is calling. Will you stand beside?
Those who fight for freedom, live their lives each day.
In God we trust, America: that is America's way.