Rev. Carol Bodeau
This last Sunday was one of our fun, annual events at Westside: the Pancakes and Patriotism service led by Chris Edkins. During this service each year, folks bring poems or passages to read on the subject of patriotism, and we have a traditional pancake breakfast while listening to each other’s thoughts on the subject of being proud of, and committed to being American citizens.
During the breakfast, while listening to a wide range of thoughts, speakers, authors and approaches to this important topic, someone I was sitting with made the comment that America is more of a salad than a melting pot. I love this idea!
When we think of a melting pot, everything in it becomes blended and more homogenous. But a salad! That is a fabulous mixity of flavors and colors and textures that are all wonderful, and somehow go well together. This struck me as a beautiful way to understand diversity in our American nation.
It's okay to have both tomatoes and cucumbers in your salad. In fact, it’s awesome! Some of us like nuts or seeds in the mix we experience, while others want sweet fruits or spicy peppers. We like different types of salad dressings, and we can change which flavor we favor from one day to the next. America is a place where we can experience the familiar, or the unfamiliar; the old or the new; a lot of things all mixed up, or just have a simple lettuce-and-tomato day.
Maybe we can think of diversity that way. You get to experience a wide range of colors, flavors and textures, but they can be mixed in creative, fun and exciting ways. And, of course, the goal of a salad is to have the mixing of foods complement each part’s contribution. It’s the mixing that makes the whole taste better.
On this 4th of July week, as we celebrate all the stories and experiences and varieties of what it means to be America, let’s revel in the fact that this nation is an amazing salad of diversity and possibility.
Happy 4th of July,