FreedomLately, I have been pondering freedom and what that word means to me at the deepest core level of my being. As I have thought about the word and the state of being free, it seems to be elusive. It seems that I inherently know what it means, as though I have been simmered in the essence of freedom, but I am unable to put it into words and, because of that, I'm wondering if I am taking my freedom for granted.
To help me land in an understanding of what the definition of the word is, I looked it up and discovered a few things on www.dictionary.com:
"Freedom: the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint; exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.; the power to determine action without restraint."
The "official" definitions did nothing for me. I live in America, the Land of the Free and with that privilege firmly in tact - or, mostly firmly in tact - it has become easy to be lethargic about being free. I have the benefit of being able to choose what I do with my time, how I earn a living, where I send my child to school, where I live and with whom I associate. I have the ability to choose which deity I will worship, if any, where that worship will take place, how it will look and when. I get to choose what art I view, purchase and hang in my home. I get to follow my heart in choosing music and reading material.
And all of this becomes comfortable and surprisingly easy to take for granted.
I am aware of the laws that govern this land, laws by which I must abide. I am aware of the speed limits and laws surrounding gun ownership and illegal, mind-altering substances. I am aware that there are laws about wearing seatbelts, putting my baby in a car seat and making sure my car is correctly registered and tagged. There are laws against violence and theft and fraud. There are laws to protect the innocent children and unborn babies. There are laws that dictate people cannot marry someone of the same sex or more than one person at the same time. Still the same, I must choose to abide by the laws of the land, whether I agree with them or not, or face the consequences of choosing to not abide them.
In this land, I have freedom and laws that are put into place to protect my freedoms. I have never had to go to war to fight for these freedoms. I have not had to stand face to face with someone who has been declared my enemy and watch that person die a slow death from a wound I had inflicted upon them. I have never had to even so much as fight to get food for myself and my daughter. All around the world, even in America, there are people living lives in such conditions. There are people living with the terrors, day in and day out, of war. There are parents who cannot feed their children for days on end and children who die all too frequently from the effects of malnutrition.
Freedom. What does it mean to me, really?
Freedom means I have the liberty to wake up each day and choose to create the kind of day that I am going to have. It means I am an active participant in my life, that I am the CAUSE and the EFFECT of my life. It means I can choose how I react in any given situation and what my next move will be. It means that I get to decide if I uphold my agreements, keep my commitments and live a life of conscious choice. It means that I am the one who decides what I want to do, what I want to be and who I am. No one decides these factors, but me for me.
As America goes into a new era and moves collectively toward healing our nation and moving away from the pervasive, oppressive feeling of fear that has dangled over our heads for far too long, I wonder, how many of us will choose to remember that we are where we are and who we are because people have died to make it so. We have a choice as a nation to create a greater nation than what is being handed to us today. We have our freedom still to do something amazing, something great. We have the freedom to step up and be truly magnificent.
Freedom. I am at choice to honor my state of being free and choose to do so now. I embrace it. It is that state of freedom that gives me the space to follow my dreams, to know that I have the ability to become whatever I choose for myself. It is freedom that makes me great, makes you great.
What will you do with your freedom?
© Angie K. Millgate 02/08/09