Independence: Happy 4th Of July!!!

fireworks_us_flagIndependence Day! I find a way to celebrate, or at the very least, acknowledge it everyday.

For all of the complaining I do about social injustice, our political system, and media I love this country. I am grateful for having been born here. I am grateful for the opportunities.

So often we hear that freedom isn’t free. In fact, it is so cliche that we can fall def to the obvious meaning, let alone the deeper meaning. But, let’s take a moment to recognize the truth in it. To my knowledge, there has not been a time in history that freedom of any kind hasn’t come with a cost.

redcoatsWhen our country gained its independence and the freedom to develop in the direction of its choosing, it came at great cost. Families were torn apart. Homes were occupied by more than the family of origin. The land was destroyed in the wake of moving armies. Land marks, markers of our history, were also lost to the cause.

Once our victory was achieved the dust settled a bit. But, inevitably, with growth and freedom there is internal war that can occur. We looked to our developing political and social system. We saw fit to clean house. Again, we went to war in the name of freedom. We repeated the cycle. We won but, with similar cost.

fsms1As the story goes with any sense of freedom, we discover there are many levels of freedom that need to be obtained in order to be truly free. Civil freedom was next on the ‘To Do’ list. Women gained rights. Our African American communities fought for freedom at great cost…and so it goes on with Gay Rights, Human Rights, and as many rights that need to be acknowledged. All at a great cost in one form or another. All worth it.

Then there are personal rights. After all of the outside freedoms have been satisfied we have the opportunity to look inward. We can take a moment out of our busy and often times chaotic lives to notice if we are living a life of personal freedom. The answers we come to are not always the answers we want to deal with.

personal_freedom1How many of us are living a life of personal freedom? How many of us have made choices that have shackled us to a life of “less than”? Are we willing to go to war with ourselves, sometimes at great personal loss, to free ourselves? If ever there was a country that gives us the freedom to explore that possibility, it is this one.

Most of my life I have lived restricting my personal freedom. I wasn’t aware that I was doing it other than this gnawing unrest that perhaps I wasn’t living in line with my soul. Nothing brought it to the forefront for me like living in almost six years of Domestic Violence. As with any oppressive situation, there comes a point when domination and exploitation can no longer be ignored. So I went to war.

3480482_f496I fought for personal freedom. Just like our country has experienced grave loss, so did I. It tore my family apart. I lost my home for a while. Everything I had worked for was destroyed…but I survived. I gained freedom. And just like our country is full of opportunity if we are willing to see it…so is my life as it stands now.

I am rebuilding in the wake of the war but, I have the good fortune to live a life in line with my soul. It isn’t easy…freedom rarely is. I cherish the freedom to choose my friends, to take my children to new places, to wear what I want, to express myself uniquely, and to explore all the different facets of me. Not too many countries would give that advantage to someone who is willing to fight for it, to want it.

Enjoy your Independence! Never be afraid to fight for yourself, your beliefs, and your values…it is the philosophy this country was founded on.

 

 

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