Throughout this 4th of July weekend, we pause from our normal daily routines to celebrate Independence Day in the United States.
We commemorate the Declaration of Independence and celebrate the freedom that was proclaimed by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
Since that time, countless men and women have sacrificed to ensure we remain free.
Fast forward to today, what does FREEDOM mean to you?
Is it a day off work? A picnic? A day at the beach? A day of special family time? All those things are important and represent freedom.
By definition, freedom means the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
Freedom from captivity. Freedom from censure. Freedom to travel. Freedom to worship. There are SO many freedoms that we enjoy every single day!
Like everything that has value, freedom comes with a price. Many sacrificed to preserve our freedom. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice and others are reminded of their sacrifice every single day of their lives.
Freedom also comes with responsibility. Responsibility to ensure its preservation and to accept that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
When I was a young child, my father explained the meaning of my “rights” to me by comparing them to an elevator ride. He said if I get on an elevator and no one is on it or waiting for it, I can take it to any floor as many times as I’d like and yet the minute someone else needs that elevator, my “rights” necessitate that I consider the other person’s rights as well as my own.
As I observe current events, I often think of that elevator analogy and how many times throughout my life it has helped me work through how to reconcile my rights with the rights of others.
We certainly need not take the elevator to the same floor yet we should always be mindful that others are on the elevator of life with us.
As we enjoy our freedom and make wonderful memories with our loved ones this holiday weekend, let’s take thyme to be grateful and to appreciate the depth and breadth of what freedom really means to all of us.