I’m a very introspective person and this Independence Day has taken on a deeper meaning for me as our country struggles to find it’s identity as we have lost it somewhere – or, rather, there are some who wish to redefine what and who America is. We are deeply divided as a nation and it grieves my heart. Yet on the positive side it has made me stop and consider what freedom means and to appreciate what freedoms we have left (and mourn those that have been lost).
As I listen to our society argue over “rights”, “safety”, “protection” one thing has become very clear:
Somehow our society has bought into the lie that freedom is safe.
Quite the contrary. Freedom is wild, untamed, and dangerous, but oh so invigorating and life-giving! What?! How can freedom not be safe? You want safety? Safety is a hamster in one of those plastic balls that goes round but never goes anywhere. Safety is a prison, a safe, a barrier. Safety keeps thing and people out or in. It is confined.
Just think about this for a minute. No, REALLY think about it. Lay down your preconceived ideas and consider animals. Animals in a zoo are safe and preserved from outside harms. They have food supplied to them; no foraging, no hunting, no predators to worry about. The cost: they are caged. Prisoners. They sleep and eat. They lose natural instincts for survival. There is no exploring. Life is limited.
Release the animals back into the wild and they are FREE! Oh, wait… but that freedom comes at a cost. There are predators, cliffs, holes, conflict with other animals including their own species, food might be hard to find, they may be killed. They have to build or find their own shelters. Their shelters get destroyed. You get the idea.
So what do you want? A sheltered, protected life that has no opportunities where someone else determines the course of your life? Or Freedom – with all its risks? With Freedom opportunities are endless if you choose to pursue them, and with that freedom comes the risks. Troubles will come; loss, death, pain. But the freedom to choose, to experience the consequences (good or bad) of those choices, what is that worth? To explore, find new things, discover yourself, live life. Remember that if you want the freedom to choose then someone else has the same freedom and they will choose differently. The best of both worlds does not exist. Want the taste of freedom without the risk? Impossible. As soon as you take measures to eliminate risks and create safety nets, you start to lose freedoms.
There is a delicate balance here. Freedom is not an unbridled free-for-all. We are not entitled to it. Freedom requires discipline and self-control. It doesn’t mean getting what you want whenever you want it. Freedom is earned and the wise know that true freedom still has its boundaries.
Infants and children have few freedoms because they are yet unable to handle the risks of freedom. They must be taught and mature first. Then, gradually, new freedoms are granted to them. Give someone freedom before they have the skills and maturity to handle it and they will destroy themselves and the people around them.
Wild freedom understands and embraces the risks – with wisdom. It savors the and hunts down the right opportunities to experience this life at its fullest. Wild freedom is willing to fail just because we can – and because it knows success, whether achieved by ourselves or someone after us, is built on those failures.
So as we remember the birthday of our nation I ask you to be thankful for what we have as of today – the freedom to worship, the right to bear arms, the freedom to voice our opinions, abilities to run our own businesses. Be careful to guard them and respect those with differing opinions or we will wake up some day very soon and they will all be gone. Even if our outward freedoms slowly slip away there is an internal and eternal Freedom that can never be lost.
(I can’t help but wonder what it was like stepping on to this new land with all the hopes and aspirations the new colonists had. Fear of the unknown and feeling lost, yet immense excitement at the adventure that was before them and their children. They took a risk coming to this new land, and I am thankful for the people of our heritage who sacrificed their lives and comforts so we could have endless opportunities.)
On a lighter note I thought I would share some fun outtake pictures of our summer photo shoot last week. Check out all our great new items for summer on our website www.RockyMountainCowgirl.com