What better day to talk about freedom than the fourth of July…a day in our history that marks independence. For our country, it was independence and the freedom to govern ourselves. It is the day many years ago that we as a country “declared our independence”. And it is a reminder of all those in our country who have fought to keep those freedoms alive and who have given of their hearts, minds, bodies and even their lives. I am so thankful for our men and women who have chosen to help guard our freedoms and the freedoms of others. I pray the Creator..our Lord…blesses them all mightily.
image from montney.com
To some, the fourth of July is just a time to be off work, have BBQ and see fireworks and the real reason behind it becomes lost in all the celebrating. Freedom….oh what a precious thing we have and yet it is often taken for granted. The mere fact that we can have cookouts and fireworks and can gather where ever we want to celebrate speaks of freedom.And yet our freedoms include being able to marry whomever we want, work whatever and where we want, to own homes, to have children, to read books, to have freedom of speech, to read newspapers, to go to whatever church we want, to love whom ever we want, and more. All of these freedoms come on the backs of those men and women who have sacrificed themselves and sometimes their lives to preserve that freedom.
The words “declaration of independence” mean so much and yet, the event that precipitated our celebrating the fourth..the signing of the Declaration of Independence gets lost in people wanting to dispute the exact time and date of signing instead of people realizing what the significance of the Declaration of Independence really is. We “declared” our independence from oppression…freedom from being owned by another country.
People declare their independence in many ways. I declare mine every day that I get up and strap on all this gear and take my little oxygen tank and my forearm crutches or sit in my power chair and declare that I am independent of this hospital bed. I declare it when I make the decision to be honest and ethical and to be free from lies and manipulations. Others declare their independence when they leave jobs that have mired them down in misery. And still others declare their independence when they leave marriages that should never have been formed and move on in their lives. Declarations of independence happen daily. And still others declare their independence from prejudice when they decide to accept people as they are and not by the color of their skin. And the list goes on and on.
Independence comes in many forms and yet the very country that gives so many their freedoms, people want to tear apart, denigrate, and shout to the world every dislike they have of the country that gives them the freedom to do just that. I remember a quote that says “if you can not be part of the solution, please do not be part of the problem” and that is what I see when I see so many complaining and wanting to chip in their two cents. They do not care the harm that their words do for they are not trying to heal the country but to further tear it apart because of a misguided notion that freedom of speech means saying anything you want to anyone you want without regard to consequences. Freedom comes with a price just as freedom of speech does.
Some people create their own oppressions with lies and lack of integrity. Those lies, manipulations and lack of integrity means that they will spend their lives looking over their shoulders wondering if this is the day people learn the truth about them. Is this the day someone reveals them as they are and destroys their illusion they have created of being a victim, or burdened down or needing help. Freedom should include being yourself and when you are yourself and are honest and filled with integrity then you have declared your own independence from the oppression of lies and manipulations and games. Every action we make has a consequence. It is the ripple effect and if those actions are not ones of freedom from lies and manipulations, then the consequence can be loss of people who really loved us to loss of respect. To some, that means nothing but to others..one day it will mean the world. That is oppression we have created for ourselves. And making a stand for honesty and integrity and making amends for any wrongs you might have done is a declaration of independence in itself.
Independence…freedom…is more than just declaring we are no longer owned by another country. It is a state of mind. We create our own freedoms in life just as we create within us our own happiness. We either oppress ourselves by become slaves to fashion, peer pressure and other society things or we declare our freedom…our independence and we just “be ourselves”…the real us. We create our freedoms and declare our selves independent by not letting ourselves be caught up in bigotry and prejudice, by not letting money rule our lives, by not letting disabilities or illnesses keep us from being happy, by learning how to take care of ourselves and not depending on others to be the one to calm us or solve our problems, by being honest and ethical, by making decisions for ourselves and the list goes on. Independence comes in every step of our lives and in all the decisions we make.
Just as surely as the mustang ran free in our country, freedom is a part of our daily lives no matter where we live. Even when we live in restricted areas, we can still have freedom of heart and the freedom to be happy.
image from horsechannel.com
While we celebrate the fourth of July…what independence are you celebrating today?
- Comfort foods
- Dreams for the future
- Eating Out
- Etta James
- Female Impersonators
- heart center
- helping others
- Native American
- New Year's Resolution
- Protection from fraud
- Rocky Mountains
- US Military