Ever since I can remember I’ve set off fireworks on the 4th of July (and on New Year’s Eve), which, in my corner of the world, is against the law . . . has been since I was little (as far as I know and can remember).
When we moved into our home 4 years ago I continued the proud tradition my Father taught me of breaking the law twice a year and popping fireworks. I know it’s illegal. 🙂 I know that, if caught, I’ll be issued a citation and will have to pay money, which, for some odd reason, I don’t always have an overabundance of. 🙂
But I do it anyway. I do it, I think, partly to honor my Father who considered this minor infraction of the law necessary to our upbringing. I do it because it brings back wonderful memories of my siblings and I learning how to light a fuse and run like hell to make sure we weren’t blown up or set on fire. I do it because I love the excitement that bubbles over in my son as we go buy fireworks, and I love the look in his eyes as he lights his own fuse or watches me light a fuse, anticipating the lights or sounds that will come forth. And I love it because five years ago was the last time I got to light fireworks with my Dad, and in this way I keep a tradition going, one which I thouroughly enjoy. 🙂
However, this post takes a turn, because I’d like to meditate on something else for a bit.
I’ve been watching more TV in the last two months. My son and wife have a virtual monopoly on our television, so I had resigned myself to renting movies and watching them on this very computer monitor where I am typing. But I caught an episode of the show House, and I liked it. It’s a drama about a doctor who is arrogant, womanizing, stubborn, egotistic, and brilliant. Each episode has him saving lives in spite of his flaws.
I’ve been watching Monk, a series about a private detective who is obsessive-compulsive, and yet who manages to solve crime after crime by bringing his unique condition to bear on the mystery at hand.
Boston Legal is the show that started me back on watching TV. All-too-human (read: flawed) lawyers deal with their profession, their lives, and the lives of their clients as we watch good lawyers and bad lawyers help guilty and innocent people avoid or receive penalties for crimes.
And finally I’ve been watching The 4400, something more along the lines of what I traditionally like to watch (sci-fi / fantasy /horror), but which also showcases the way not-so-perfect humans can make mistakes in thought, word and deed.
And I think I like those shows because they remind me that, even as imperfect as I am – prone to laziness and selfishness – I can still be myself. I don’t have to be a saint, or a paragon of virtue, or a shining example of light and love . . . I can be myself, with all of my strengths and weaknesses, my vices and my virtues, my light and my darkness, my yin and my yang.
I don’t have to be perfect.
At 11:00 pm last night a police officer pulled over in front of my house last night as were popping fireworks. Some friends and their families were over with us, and we were all in the front yard. I walked over to talk to the police officer, and he very cordially reminded me that there while there were many, many people playing with fireworks, it was still against city ordinances to do so. He did not issue me a citation, but told me that if he drove past my house again and we were still setting off fireworks he would have to give me a citation. He explained that it was late and that many people had to work tomorrow, so he asked us to please stop. I let him know that I knew we were not supposed to be doing it, and he gave me a knowing smile and let me know that he was the only officer on duty who was checking our whole area for offenders. He wished me a Happy 4th and a good night, and then he drove off.
We stopped breaking the law (it was pretty late), but I couldn’t help feeling that, in some way, I had allowed myself to become a deeper, more soulfull person. There was no shame in my actions, no self-righteous indignation that I was singled out, and no shades of guilt at what my family, friends, neighbors or co-workers may or may not have thought. I fully accepted the consequences of my actions.
I think that, in some small way, I grew up a bit more last night. And I pray that, as I continue to grow, I remember that no one in this world will ever be perfect. That is kept for a world yet to come, a world in which I know my Dad and my Father are waiting for me.
Blessings & Peace,