Thoughts on Freedom

There has been so much anger and frustration on social media lately.  From those feeling disenfranchised to those feeling as though they are being forced into certain behaviors . . . I’ve seen far too much arguing and “mud-slinging”.

Today is Independence Day.  July 4th.  The day we celebrate the fact that a rag tag bunch of rebels stood up to a tyrant and said, “You will no longer tax us without giving us a voice in how we are governed”.  So today, I choose, for just a few moments, to ignore all the politically polarizing media nonsense and focus on what freedom and living in this country has mean for me.

As an American . . .

. . . I was given a chance at an education right alongside the boys in my community.  In some countries, young girls STILL don’t have that option.

. . . I got to decide for myself if and where I attended college.  And when I wanted another degree, I had the freedom to pursue that too!  No one decided for me whether or not that would happen.  Again, for many women in our world this type of thing is only a dream.

. . . I got to choose my spouse.  My father didn’t marry me off to someone that would add to his own wealth or influence.  In pretty much every Muslim country in the world a woman’s husband is chosen for her and her opinion on the matter just doesn’t count.

. . . I got to choose how many children I had and how they would be educated.

. . . I have the freedom to choose if/when I will become involved in a church and exactly which faith practice I will adhere to.

. . . I have the freedom to voice an opinion without fear of imprisonment.

. . . and so many other things I too often take for granted!

I know that there are some things in our country that could be better.  I know we have an educational system that needs some seriously powerful, positive impact by people who truly understand and care about the field of education.  I am aware that there are some seriously needy people among us and we aren’t necessarily managing the resources to help them very well.  I believe that those I do not see eye to eye with in the world of politics are intelligent people who would likely be very willing to engage in a polite conversation about real, workable solutions.  And the great thing is, we have the freedom in this country to do just that – to solve problems and make our little corner of the world a little bit brighter.

To those who fought for and defended our freedoms – and continue to do so even now – thank you.  It doesn’t get said nearly often enough and this level of freedom is so ridiculously comfortable that we are ALL in danger of beginning to feel slightly entitled and arrogant.  But today I am grateful that – as woman of faith living in the U.S.A. – I have freedoms that are not a reality in every corner of the world for others like me.  And I just wanted to take a moment to remind myself just how good I have it.

Choosing my Focus – Blessings

Been a rough couple of days personally.  Not sharing any details.  Airing the dirty laundry would not help the situation at all.  What I will do is focus on the blessings in my life.

1.  My husband.  He is my ROCK.  The “stuff” I’m dealing with is indirectly affecting him too and he is simply overwhelming me with his commitment to protect me and do what he can to deal with the situation.  He has put up with my crazy, musically obsessed self for more than 26 years now (we’ve been married for 24 of those).  He is my biggest fan and my most treasured gift.

2.  My kids. No, they are not perfect and we don’t always agree on everything.  But they have provided me with hours of laughter, music and fun.  We’ve wrestled through spiritual matters together, made memories together and occasionally driven each other crazy but I wouldn’t trade being their mom for ANYTHING.

3.  I’ve met so many amazing people here in Fort Dodge that share my love of and passion for the performing arts.  I am just more blessed than I deserve to get to work with these people on a regular basis!

4.  My friend Connie.  She and I really not much alike at all – she’s an athlete, I am SOOOO not; I’m a girlie girl, she’s more of a tomboy.  But she always knows just when I need her support and love.

5.  Another friend Katrina. She just makes my day better.  She is one of the most loving, caring, compassionate people I know and I am lucky enough to call her friend!

6.  Music.  I am coming up on the 40th anniversary of my first piano lesson.  Music has been my refuge, my emotional outlet, and my most authentic expression of worship.  Hans Christian Anderson said it best – “Where words fail, music speaks.”

7.  My faith.  I have learned and grown so much in recent weeks and it’s the ONLY reason I’m surviving this situation now!

I have no clue what is coming next.  I know I am not alone in dealing with the situation and I am truly blessed.  Soli Deo Gloria.