Friday, July 5, 2013
By Beckie Carlson
I've always liked the fourth of July. I like the colors, the shapes, the barbeques, and the freedom we celebrate. The more I learn about the world, the more grateful I am to live in this free country. Sure, we may have a....'person I didn't vote for' in charge these days, but over all, it is a pretty spectacular country.
We spent today, after day camp, at my sister's swimming, eating, laughing, inhaling huge amounts of firework smoke, and eating some more. The kids swam in the murky pool....I wasn't quite brave enough. (Although, in retrospect...the water might have hidden my large, pale thighs....)
It is always fun to get together with family. I love that my kids have cousins their ages. That is something I never had.
I was thinking about freedom and independence today and all the different ways those words can be applied in my life. I am a single, capable, strong woman that can do what I want. But, I am also a mom to six children that rely on me to take care of them. Am I still free? I can work where I want, go to school, sit at home and watch tv or become a gym rat. But I am inside a body that requires knowledge, food, entertainment, and exercise in order to be happy. Am I still free? I live in a beautiful home that I can paint, decorate, rearrange, or sell if I so desire. But I live in an HOA that won't let me paint my house pink or put foil on my windows. Am I still free?
What exactly is freedom? Is it really a worldly, physical thing? Or is it more of a mental, spiritual thing?
I'm exhausted, worn out, stressed out, worried, frustrated, and lonely. That list is enough to make a person feel they are not free in their life. That list sometimes makes me want to climb in a nice hot bubble bath and sink to the bottom. I can cry and moan and complain and shake my hands at the heavens all the day long and it makes no difference.
Or, I can look beyond my list and see that I am free to feel and react how I want to these things. I can throw a fit, but I can also look at them as opportunities for growth. I can look at them as different paths or choices I GET to make. I can also look at some of the things in my life as opportunities for others to learn or grow. Sometimes it isn't even about me that causes me to feel in bondage. Sometimes I need to take a deep breath, take a step back, and let someone else do their thing. Stressing out about someone elses choice is a choice to stress myself out.
Independence. It is what we make it to be. Cause I said so.
Photo credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/03/american-flags-china_n_3540287.html