Every July 4th I watch my family playing in the sand or eating corn on the cob and I start thinking about what freedom is.
Ability to choose.
Peace with self.
Peace with others.
No need to rely on prejudice or violence.
Being who you want to be.
Saying what you want to say.
Thinking how you want to think.
Going where you want to go when you want to go.
Respect all around.
Worth fighting for. Worth helping each other attain.
Impossible without justice.
Without reverence for human life and rights.
Without thoughtful stewardship of our life on this troubled, fearful earth.
What we're here to learn.
In the U.S. we celebrate freedom on this day and enjoy most of its components every day.
But imagine for a moment being
...a woman under Taliban rule in Afghanistan
...a journalist in China
...an immigrant in South Africa
...a member of the "wrong" side in Zimbabwe
...a hostage in Colombia
...a resident of Iraq
...a street child in the Philippines
...a refugee in Darfur
...a quadriplegic in an ICU
...a wrongfully imprisoned person
...a teenage girl forced to marry against your will
...an elderly man whose friends have all passed away and who depends on the help others just to go about his daily activities
...a sex slave in any number of countries around the world
...a tortured prisoner of war
...an abused wife who fears for her own life
...a man struggling to provide food and shelter for his family
...a family forced to flee their home because the resources around it have been irrevocably altered or destroyed
Is it possible for us all to be truly free?
I don't know. But I do know I haven't done enough to contribute to the world's freedom, and that I too often take the freedoms I have for granted.
A follow-up thought / question that's been bugging me since I jotted this post down: whether for individuals or for nations...is freedom possible without wealth?