Rafted up for a fireworks show over a dark pond, I casually watched the heavily overloaded pontoon boat next to the boat I was on tilt precariously to port. Shouts erupted and intoxicated people shifted a bit too far to starboard, more shouting and finally everyone froze in a state of fragile equilibrium. The fireworks were about to happen and damnit if everyone on that boat wasn’t going to see them. We all want to be part of the story—sometimes we come dangerously close to writing a new story in the process.
The irony of the moment wasn’t lost on me. The fireworks were in celebration of Independence Day, yet here they were so eager to be a part of the group that they nearly overwhelmed the very thing they all wanted to be a part of. A few characters jostling for better position and the danger of capsizing and thus losing everything was apparent to everyone. I don’t know if they even noticed the fireworks had started until well into the show.
We live in a world where everyone is jostling for a seat at the table. Those who hadn’t traditionally been invited to the show naturally expect their fair share. Those who traditionally had the show to themselves resent the competition for the best seats and buy into stories about scarcity and loss of identity. And Mother Earth rocks dangerously close to capsizing while we all shout at each other.
Happy Independence Day, America. Let’s be smart and look out for each other. For the world is watching and hoping for the best. Aren’t we too?