Today, we honor the Veterans – those who gave their lives – in time served for our country, as well as those who literally gave their human lives to protect our freedom. For those who have done this, I am truly grateful.
I am aware of the complacency that I sometimes have over our democracy and the many freedoms which I have had all my life. I became aware of this recently when I was speaking to a young man from Gambia, who fled to the United States, and left his friends, family and home, in order to escape the dictatorship and the high cost of having to stay mute around the injustices that he witnessed in his home country. He told me that it was not unusual for people to just disappear. One day they would be at work, and the next day they would be gone. He had a difficult time staying quiet about this injustice, knowing that if he spoke what was in his heart, he may be the next to disappear.
For example, I can write this blog, and my primary fear would be around criticism and rejection, not around losing my life. I tend to think of freedom as noted in the Bill of Rights, but there are other freedoms that we seek that have a high cost.
I think of freedom from pain and physical suffering – the cost of this can be medical bills, surgery, the cost of time to attend appointments or the inability to work. If we have the ability and means to do so, we enter into this process of healing and restoration, and hopefully, return to our normal lives, and to restored lives. We never know when we enter into this process what the outcome will be – that is the faith walk.
How about freedom from being in abusive relationships? There are costs as one seeks to get out of destructive relationships – sometimes in domestic abuse, it can be loss of life. There are financial costs incurred as well, not to mention the false security that one might feel by staying in the relationship.
How about emotional pain and suffering? – the cost of this can also be enormous – the expense of psychotherapy uncovered by medical insurance, and suffering and grieving life losses from those who have harmed us. This process involves feeling the difficult feelings and dealing with the repercussions of how we have injured ourselves, and others, through the pain we have ourselves have experienced. In order to truly heal, this process must take place in the presence of trusted others (and in my personal experience, with God)
That which is precious to us, is that for which we will lay down our life. We may or may not see the fruit of our sacrifice, but others that follow behind us will reap the rewards of the cost borne by us.
Is there anything precious enough to you for which you are laying down your life?
If you are entering into this process of seeking freedom, what is the cost to you (and possibly others) in doing so?
What are the feelings that you experience as you enter into this process?