Should I Love My Country Any Less

Should I love my country any less?



If we love our children we reprove them.  We chide them quietly in private if we can, but loudly or publicly if we must.  We look them straight in the eye and tell them when they are going wrong and where we see a better path.  When our love for them can rise above our fatigue and failings, we hold them, with determination and clarity, to a standard that insists they grow.  A standard by which we draw them as best we can toward goodness and truth. 


Should I love my country any less?



If we love our friends we are honest.  We tell them when a haircut is crooked, a boyfriend is cheating, a new sofa doesn’t quite work.  We help them see that a quarrel with a spouse is partly their own doing.  We name their addiction when they have become alcoholic.  This tender honesty is a gift we offer only to those we care for and trust most deeply.  


Should I love my country any less?



When we love ourselves truly, securely, we admit our flaws.  We acknowledge the dark secrets of our past.  And we recognize the even darker possibilities of which we are capable.  Yet we see the goodness that coexists with these and embrace with pride our tattered humanity.


Should I love my country any less?



When we feel loved absolutely, it is because we are cherished by someone who has seen us when we get up in the morning, stripped of the face we wear in public.  Someone who knows that we can smell bad and we think ugly thoughts.  Someone who has heard our most guarded secrets.  Someone who knows our shame and who sees our beauty.  All else feels ultimately fragile or false. 


Should I offer my country anything less?       

About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt; Deas and Other Imaginings.
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