Freedom, true freedom, means to be uncontrolled, being at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint. Mental, physical and emotional entrapment with or without visual restraints can also hold one captive. What are the keys to freedom? Who holds them and how does one who seeks to be free attain them? What does freedom cost and who pays the price? These questions must be addressed to further understand the measures of freedom.
The past has taught us that those who controlled others by promising them freedom, forty acres and a mule, jobs in the free world, and new lives continued to oppress minorities for years. Now in 2012, although the slavery of yesteryears no longer exists in America, there are many who still seek the key to their own freedom and others who continue to maintain the shackles and chains.
To have peace of mind, to be free to think and say what we truly believe; to live healthy with no addictions to drugs, food, sex, or money; to live understanding love thyself without lowering our standards for who we love…..is the key to freedom. Holding that key without understanding the power brings fears. Using that key would open paths to unknown territory for most breaking a cycle of misunderstanding and ignorance. One often fears what they don’t understand. To be free, it is assumed you have lost it all including your connection to the real world, or you have gained it all and have no connection with yourself. The cost of freedom may cause one to lose who they are with friends, family and self.
Gaining an education, accepting a raise on the job, having a blessed marriage and a loving family, may indeed bring peace of mind but what is lost? Acquiring the responsibility of representing a nation, being free of financial woes, having support and guidance at your call, may bring financial gain and prestigious fame, but what is the cost? Finding that love of a life time, fifty years plus marriage, the freedom of understanding what true love is and the blessing of happily ever after, what challenges will one face? Freedom in most of our lives is not free.
Freedom is granted to each of us at birth. Our parents quickly begin to control our actions, teach us a path to follow, monitor our behavior and expose us to others who touch our lives and tap dance on our freedom for years. During the course of our lives we face challenges that weigh on our freedom. We have to make choices, which at times tighten those invisible chains, keeping us silently controlled.
James Russell Lowell says it best “True freedom is to share all the chains our brothers wear.” Until we recognize openly that freedom is for all, no one will truly be free. What I impose on others will eventually be imposed on me, my family and my friends. Once we restrict the liberties of others, we place restrictions on our lives. My ancestors died making attempts to run from slavery, gave up their lives to be free. During slavery they died because they wanted to read; wanted to be educated; wanted to stay with their families; wanted to be treated equal. They lost many who spoke out; many who were forced to bare the children of the master; many who fought to be free. In 2012, we talk about equality, as we disguise our prejudices; we fight for justice, as we vote for cuts in education; we instill family values as we ignore the need for community attachment. Our brothers are chained even today. Each one of us pays the price for another. If there is to be liberty, justice and freedom for all, we all must pay.
What must we give today of ourselves and for ourselves and those we love to live free? How many wars, riots, marches, laws and petitions must we support to release the chains we bear? When will we understand that understanding promotes equality and rids fear and ignorance? As we destroy others we destroy ourselves. Our loss of life, our loss of love, our loss of value is our loss of freedom. Our prayers are riddled with cries for healing the souls and minds of our youth. We ask for peace seeking a calm that will be recognized by all races and religions. We want to be free of the debt of a people who should have unchained the hearts, minds and souls of many years ago. We need not ask how is our freedom measured or what is the cost to be free? For if one soul is trapped, if one soul is willing to give up their freedom and accept fear, if one soul touches another and another spewing control and ignorance, we will lose what we have gained. What is the cost? The cost is what you are willing to pay.
Date: June 10, 2012
Writer’s Name: Nanette M. Buchanan
Journal Topic: What does freedom cost and who pays the price?