Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

This Past Independence Day…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on July 6, 2010

Myself and a few friends went for a picnic and hike in a wildlife park in Pennsylvania.  As we traveled eastward, I marveled at many things.  I marveled at how close I am to two other states, that to drive to them it takes less than 20 minutes.   Having originated from the West where 20 minutes will only get one out of town, this is a significant difference.

I marveled at the lush, green beauty of the hills and valleys that make up those viewed surroundings.  Again, out West we have mountains and hills, but they are often far from lush with greenery, and consist mostly of rocks, pine trees, and cactus.

I also marveled at the good fortune of having friends.  How many people spent their Independence Day alone, or even more sad, alone and in a crowd?  Though my friends and I did not shoot off fireworks, we did pray together, had uplifting conversation about life and God’s miracles, and the food was filling – to say the least. =-)

Our lunch was first and took a while to cook as we had all forgotten that a coal fire doesn’t cook as quickly as a stove.  Silly, I know, but then what can we say?  Coal cooking only happens every so often, and usually only once a year.  At any rate, my steaks cooked along side my friend’s corn-on-the-cob.  Then another friend put her pot of beans on when the steaks were done.  We ate almost a full 1 hr and 30 minutes after we had arrived at our picnic site.  But God had blessed us with hot coals from the couple before us, so our heating time wasn’t as long as it could have been.  We also had good shade to eat in, most helpful, as the heat was 90F and the humidity was at 85%.

But something that really struck me happened while we were in mid-hike.  To begin, it is important to try and describe the look of the hikers.  Two of us had on hiking-boots, one was dressed in full consecrated -virgin regalia, another only had running-shoes (not good for hiking in as they fell apart at the end of the hike), and the fifth just came “as-is”.  I was one that had hiking shoes.  My shoes were missing their original shoe laces, so I had to borrow a pair from my own running shoes.

It was kind of funny.  The boots are dark brown and the laces were bright white!  I had on jeans that were rolled to the knee, and I have “bulging calves” by nature, that just stood out.  I also had a small blue backpack on my back that contained hiking necessities; including a change of clothes. Almost at the beginning of the hike I asked for, and was granted, a walking stick for the journey. It lasted the entire hike! My friends commented that I looked like a hiker from some European mountain village.  My other friend who had boots for hiking just carried a water bottle and looked very American, as did all the other ladies hiking.

Pray the Rosary

So naturally, being the “European Hiker”, I took the back of the line.  This also allowed me to go at a slightly slower pace than the others.  At 6pm, on the dot, we all prayed a Rosary for our Country, and as we prayed three things occurred.  First, our path was “cut-off ” and we required to walk around a camp site before returning to the original path.  This seemed to me to be a profound moment of prayer for all those people who were in the camp site, and only heaven knew WHY.

Second, as we found the path again it ended up reaching another dead end requiring us to turn around and head back to a fork-in-the-path we had noticed earlier.  This meant “the last was to now be first” – aka, ME, and I was now responsible for leading everyone back to the start of the second path.  We’re still praying the Rosary, and suddenly the Emergency Siren sounds for that area.  Not long after, a large plane flies over head. Before anyone begins to panic…

TRUE, the siren was only being tested for it did not go past one signal.  TRUE, the international airport of Pittsburgh is not far from where we were, and this plane was either landing there or had just taken off from there.  However, that did not mean the moment didn’t come across as… profound as well as possibly… a bit prophetic (since our country is in tyranny)?

But in that single moment, I felt as if I were walking in JPII’s shoes when he was a young man leading his group of young people through the mountains of his native Poland.  They too often prayed the Rosary as they hiked.

Not us, but you get the picture.

They did this during the Nazi occupation and later during communist occupation of their country.  Emergency sirens and planes overhead where an every-day occurrence.  Combined with the terrain we were in, I truly felt as if I had been transported to Poland and back to a time long past – though perhaps just over the horizon for us in this country?

Blessed Giorgio Frassati, PRAY FOR US!

Blessed Giorgio Frassati, PRAY FOR US!

The third occurrence: When we reached that fork, I promptly removed myself from the head-of-the-line, and returned to the end.  Our fearless leader, however, took second while our consecrated virgin took the lead, and our pathway became more soft and grassy.  We were now going through a forest of ferns and thin trees with tall branches.  The Fifth Mystery concluded and our middle person said, “Blssd Giorgio Frassati, PRAY FOR US!”  She thought it was his feast day, and we were taking a hike in a grassy-knoll, so it seemed appropriate.  However, again, I saw it as more than what the moment appeared.

It seemed to me this moment was like that which will occur at the end of everyone’s service to the Kingdom of Heaven, especially when the service is done well. Our going from a hard climb and decent to a easier walk was to say, “Well and done, faithful handmaids!  You have walked the rocky path of persecution praising My Name!  Rest now, awhile, and enjoy all I have made.”

A Lake Beach - simular to ours

We did just that.  We walk the easier path, though very narrow, for another 20 minutes (we’d already been walking for 40 minutes), when upon reaching another dead-end we once again turned around and made our way back to the beginning of the hike.  As the Rosary was complete, we sang some songs of rejoicing as well as a few Patriotic songs in honor of our Country’s Birthday.  There was a beach awaiting us at the end with cool waters for our feet.  All but one partook of that gift.

The day now spent, for it was well on to 8pm, we all piled into our leader’s car and drove back to homebase.  The air became more polluted as we approached, and my allergies responded immediately.  I had no allergies whilst we were in our park in Pennsylvania.  I wanted very much to go back.  But it was still the 4th of July, and there was still more celebrations yet to occur.

How were your fireworks?

Though I had already seen a fireworks display the night before, I did watch the 20 minute show from the back window of my apartment, happy to be indoors and behind glass where the noise was not so loud.  The other display I attended, I was front-and-center, it lasted a full HOUR, and by the time it was done I was wet with heavy mountain dew and cold.  But it was worth it!

I guess I’ll conclude this entry with some fine words from the men who gave us our Country its birth in the first place, acknowledging all the while, it be ONLY BY THE GRACE OF GOD that our Country won its freedom.


“We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity, representing our liberty.”

~ President George Washington

“The chief purpose of government is to protect life.  Abandon that and you have abandoned all.

~Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

~ John Adams, 2nd president of the United States

I Pledge Allegiance…

They Came Before Us

For Those Who Fought and Died for Our Freedom

May God Bless America!

Recommended Reading:

Peace in Presence, Not Absence
The True Meaning of Independence

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2 Responses to “This Past Independence Day…”

  1. Sounds like a good time was had by all. I wish I was with you gals during the cookout/hike. 🙂

    • Anne Elizabeth said

      It really was! I wished I could have transported you up for the occasion. =-( We did think of you AND prayed for you and your family. =-) Btw, did you like the pictures included in the posting?

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