05 Jul free
Big day in America, the Fourth of July. Fireworks, barbeques, beer, pie, ice cream, tank tops, family, sunburns, and love… lots and lots of love. Smiles so big your face hurts at the end of the day. Sticky fingers on little hands. Popsicles that melt too fast and stain your lips. Sunshine so bright you crave and avoid it at the same time! Ants. There are always ants. Parades, picnics, blankets, fireworks. Hugs and cuddles at the end of a big day. Eyes shining brightly with tears of gratitude. Ooohs and Ahhhhs at the amazing display of light in the sky.
All of it to celebrate patriotism. All of it to show gratitude. All of it to revel in our freedom.
Being American has always been a gift. Most of us know it. Most of us cherish it. Most of us do what we can to preserve and appreciate it. We are a bunch of weirdos, yes. We are lost sometimes too. When I think of America, I think of all that we are free to do, to be, to say… and I hope I am using my freedom in the best way.
As I’ve aged, and survived the severe pummeling that life has given me, I understand freedom a bit differently than I did before. I am free and have always been free. “It’s a free country” is a sarcastic little saying people like to throw around when they’re being flippant but the underlying truth cannot be denied. I’ve always been free. Even when I didn’t feel free, I was free. Fuh-ree, folks.
Free to dance in the rain.
Free to laugh with friends.
Free to follow our dreams.
Free to choose. Free to live wherever I want with whomever I like. Free to eat and drink as much as I can and free to groan about it later. Free to do nothing all day or free to work myself into a frenzy. Free to love. Free to hate. Free to grab all that I can and free to give more than I have.
Ever feel so free sometimes it is difficult to know what to do with yourself? Free, without purpose, can feel a lot like ‘untethered’ and that’s not an awesome place to be. I want to be free and still belong. I want to be free but not floating. I want to use my free voice to liberate others and my free love to encourage people and my free will to choose to serve.
Another phrase we throw around a lot is this: Freedom isn’t free.
I’m thankful for the heavy price that was paid for me so that I could live fully and love openly. I look back on the years of my life and the memories of times when I didn’t feel so liberated. Gratitude courses through me as I send up a silent prayer of thanks. I am free from toxic relatives. I am relieved of phony friends. I am released from an obligation to be near to those who do not know how to love or be loved. I am disconnected from abusers, conartists, manipulators, narcissists and the like. Not because a super hero came to rescue me, but because I finally woke up and realized a very simple truth, “Holly, you are free.”
It started at a cemetery when the most vile words were hurled at me… a link in the chain was broken. It grew from there. Another link, and then another. As the realization grew, so did my freedom. To finally understand that I could choose was the ultimate epiphany. Choose to stay or go. Choose to be silent or to fight. Choose to stand up for someone or look the other way. America celebrates its freedom today, and I’m encouraging everyone to celebrate their own as well. Then take the next step and help someone find their own freedom.
Today, I’ll take a teenager to a scary movie and we’ll squeal when the shark bites the surfer! We’ll sip sodas until our bladders can’t take anymore. We’ll swim in my pool afterwards then meet up with her mama when she gets off of work. We’ll BBQ something yummy, and laugh at our own jokes, and then find a cool place to watch fireworks, just the three of us.
Because we can. Because we are free.
Because we can choose to go big or choose to stay small, to be selfish or give it all, to share our abundance or ignore the call.
We are free.