Making a Difference

Well, today is the fourth of July.

Which means that today in America, yards are freshly mowed, grills are scraped clean, and boats are fully gassed. Fridges are stocked with buckets of kemp’s vanilla ice cream, just waiting to be scooped into icy glasses of root beer that will quench every kid’s craving for summer’s all-time favorite frosty float.

Sunscreen is brought out, only to be forgotten under the trees as the lake’s swarming activities make it impossible for any common sense to take place on such a distractingly perfect summer day.

Then the fireworks end. The yards clumped with dirt and tipped-over coolers. Grills glowing with broken coals, puddles of grease around its feet. Boats put to bed and cranked-up onto the lifts, gas meters pointing dangerously below red.

Sticky remnants leaving rings on counter tops, proof RBF’s had been gulped, and the circular evidence stating the BIG kids might have enjoyed this traditional treat even as much as the little kids. Aloe smeared unto sunburned shoulders stressing the consequence of unopened sunscreen tubes– guilty as charged.

All signs lead to the obvious conclusion: some seriously hardcore fun took place in America today.

Living outside of the Red, White, and Blue, I didn’t even blink when July 4 registered at the top of my computer screen. For today was just another day. 

Another day to make a difference. 

I rode public transportation packed with strangers, commuting through morning traffic. Everyone was headed to work. Nobody was taking a holiday today.

The faces I encountered throughout my day at work were all ones yearning for freedom; worry lines etched into foreheads, all telling similar stories of fleeing their home countries due to unending war, ongoing injustice, unrelenting persecution, and unchanging poverty.

They came to me to learn english. ENLGISH.


The one skill I’ve been mastering ever since I could talk is the one skill they would bend-over backwards to learn. English is their key to any future hope of survival.

I’m thankful for being born-and-raised in the United States. Thankful for the freedoms I have and thereby for the privileges often extended by other countries…

Example: when I received my resident’s permit I was overjoyed. Yes! I can live here! But then I watched hundreds of other heads hang in heavy disappointment, rejected once again. I can return home, to a country excessive of luxury and comfort, any time I wanted; I chose to come to Turkey.

The hanging heads had no home to return to, and Turkey was their only option for refuge.

It hits me hard.

Especially today, when I know America. I know our often thoughtless and apathetic behavior; I’ve lived it.

But what I can do with an American passport changes everything.

I can make a difference. 

It doesn’t take much. A couple lessons of endlessly repeating “Hello. What is your name? My name is… Nice to meet you,” or acting out “Stand. Sit. Jump. Walk. Clap. Dance.”

The reward? Saved lives. 

Giving confidence-boosters to people who literally have nothing else to hang-on to.

Dear America, we know we’re free. We light-up million-dollar fireworks in the sky every year to celebrate!

So how are we really living it out? What good is freedom when others still suffer?

Don’t stuff it in your pocket.

Instead, pull-out your passport…


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