July 4th Musings-A Different Spin on Freedom
For days now, these few words from this classic Kris Kristofferson song, Me & Bobbie McGee, spinning repeatedly through my brain. It’s really been bugging me. And why these words? Why now? Why me? Could loss actually free us? Could we be imprisoned by material choices, by relationships, by work that pays the bills but leaves a hole in our spirit, maybe even by memories? I’m beginning to think that it does. Long ago and far away I came out to California with only what would fit in the trunk of a Chevy Camero. If you remember a Camero, that sure wasn’t much! I rented a tiny garage apartment and bought a used sofa for $25. My sister gave me four place settings of old dishes and silverware. I had two sets of sheets and two sets of towels. I had left behind, in Florida, a house with Ethan Allen furniture, a tennis court in the backyard, and a broken marriage. I have never felt so free! Simplicity makes choice so easy. In light of the current economic realities, I’m being reminded that owning stuff can be a burden. My July 4th has me thinking what I can discard so as to have more freedom. A good friend just got laid off after 30 years. Only has enough money for maybe three months. Her husband is in construction and she has twin six year-olds. Many of us would be in deep depression. But Marian is ecstatic! “It’s my time now to pursue what I really want to do!” She is convinced that now she can actively pursue her dreams instead of being tied to a job she had grown to despise. She knows it won’t be easy but the energy and enthusiasm with her newfound freedom is propelling her efforts. (She’ll tell you about Arbonne!) My July 4th finds me recommitting to accepting only that work which feeds my spirit and not just the bank account. Up the road, my 94-year-old mother continues her progression into memory loss. She’s no longer haunted by mistakes and failures. She doesn’t remember the pain of a broken hip, the repeated trips to the emergency room, or even the numerous hospitalizations. Instead, she’s free to experience only the moment and make it what ever she wants. So she can tell me that she was walking on the beach the other day. Her wheelchair belies that statement, but who cares? She says that down the hall is someone from York, Pennsylvania. She just doesn’t know who it is. She’s free to make up friends. My July 4 reminds me that the only memory is in the moment and I can choose to make it whatever I want. That’s freedom. And of course, one cannot come to this day without remembering the loss of men and women who have given life and limb to give us the ultimate freedom: a land where we can choose our destiny.