Ah, freedom! “Give us liberty,” so many shout. It’s the seemingly universal cry of the living. What comes to mind but visions of dogs bolting out doors to run the neighborhood, or digging under the backyard fence as if it were the Berlin wall? Or maybe it’s a Houdini horse opening the gate latch or stall door, all in a quest to be free! Today, we as Americans are celebrating Independence Day, yet I’m wondering, do we really want to be free?
Many in our world claim that all of humanity wants to be free. We be loathe images of those living in places where dictators constrain the lives of their subjects. We celebrate when others are freed from tyranny. We remorse the abominable history of human slavery in our own land. We protest the oppression of others on a regular basis. Yet, the question lingers, is it true that all people want to be free? Certainly like our beloved pets, there is something innate that longs for freedom to one degree or another in all of us. Why so eager to be free? Why such enthusiasm to seize this great prize? Why so happy to have attained liberty? So worthy of celebration, it seems. Yet, if so esteemed a prize, why so easily, so willingly, surrendered by those who have it in hand?
The first day we brought our horses’ home to the farm, someone (their identity shall remain concealed) left the gate open leading from the small dry lot where they were enclosed, to a large grassy pasture. Watching from inside the house, we noticed the horses looking rather intently in the direction of the gate. Like a flash, the light bulb went off and they realized that freedom was theirs to be had. They rushed the gate and galloped out into the wide open field undeniably elated with their new found liberty; bucking, kicking, leaping, and eventually settling into eating the lush green grass. Freedom was theirs!
“With liberty, comes responsibility that is why it is most dreaded of men.” -George Bernard Shaw
Herein lies the paradox; liberty requires responsibility. We love the exhilaration and the promise freedom brings but we all too often disregard and even totally neglect the responsibility required to fully reap its blessings. All would love to go jumping and frolicking through the green pastures of life but few are willing to assume the responsibility required to reap such blessings. So often we are willing to let slip away the freedoms that others before us so treasured and sacrificed for, simply for lack of effort. To remain free we must take charge of our lives, care for ourselves, governor our own affairs; being willing and resolute to take the responsibility that brings the full benefits of liberty! We should never have to shout, “Give us liberty,” because we have kept it in hand.
Let us be sure the gates of our lives remain forever opened wide. Never held back, but allowed to run from horizon to horizon at liberty, blazing our own trails, controlling our destiny, shouldering the responsibility. Proclaiming as we run through the lush green grass,
“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty we are free at last.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Subscribe to Simple Living. Rich Life.