(2 minute read)
Ah, freedom! “Give us liberty”, so many shout. It’s the universal cry of the living.
Today, we as Americans are celebrating Independence Day, yet I’m wondering, do we deserve freedom?
Many in our world claim all people want to be free. We loathe images of those living in places where dictators constrain the lives of their subjects. When tyrants fall, we celebrate. We remorse the abominable history of human slavery in our own land. The oppression of others brings protests on a regular basis.
Is it true that all people want to be free? Like our beloved pets, there is something innate that longs for freedom to one degree or another in us all. Why so eager to be free; 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 surrendered with such ease by those who have it in hand?
The first day we brought our horses’ home to the farm, someone left the gate open leading from a small fenced area to a large open grassy pasture. Watching from inside the house, we noticed the horses fixate their eyes in the direction of the gate. Like a flash, the light bulb went off and they realized freedom was theirs to be had. They rushed the gate, galloping out into the open field elated with their new found liberty; bucking, kicking, and leaping. Freedom was theirs!
In next to no time, they became fearful. Looking for a leader they soon returned to the comfort of their fenced home.
“With liberty, comes responsibility that is why it is most dreaded of men.” – George Bernard Shaw
Herein lies the paradox; freedom requires responsibility.
Like horses, we love the exhilaration and the promise freedom brings. Yet, all too often we disregard and even neglect the responsibility required to reap its benefits. 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 benefits.
For nothing more than lack of effort we are often willing to let freedoms others before us so treasured and sacrificed for slip away. 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 in hand what was given to us.
Let us be sure the gates of our lives remain forever opened wide. May we never hold back, but 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.
A free life may not be a simple one in some ways but it is rich beyond measure. Define what freedom means to you.
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