Twenty-five years ago I watched a display of fireworks from my hospital room window, knowing that in the morning I would be wheeled into surgery to remove the tumor in my knee via the amputation of my leg. My cancer diagnosis was in May and I’d had six weeks of subsequent chemotherapy. All the while, of course, praying for the miracle that would mean that God would cure my of the cancer before the amputation surgery. Dad stayed with me that night, July 4th 1984, pushing my wheelchair to the large window by the elevators that offered an even better view of the aerial display.
Since then I find it difficult to get excited about fireworks. I mean, I can enjoy them and be overwhelmed in the sensation of sound and light. But…I rarely seek them out on my own, typically eschewing 4th of July activities that involve them, preferring to picnic or relax with friends.
My friend Brecken recently gave me a new reason to feel ambivalent about fireworks. In her work with HandReach she learned that 90% of the world’s fireworks are manufactured in one Chinese village, and she’s met many of the victims of accidents that have occurred as a result of this incredibly dangerous industry. If you’d like to hear a story about the human impact of fireworks manufacturing, click on the link below.
As for me, from now on I think I’ll stick to displays like the one pictured above–it offers enough ‘fireworks’ for me.