Hope Celebrates Freedom

Amer flagJuly Fourth is such a fun holiday. Whether it’s family picnics, iced tea with lemon, a favorite swimming hole or watching fireworks – everything about July Fourth seems fun.

But a serious side of the topic also presents itself. In our family, this date is a reminder of how fragile life can become. My son, diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, hooked up to tubes in the hospital bed. The fireworks exploding on the TV screen, trying to entertain us in the middle of a crisis.

Nothing colorful, exciting or fun about that time. But later – after a miraculous recovery – we did celebrate. And every year since, the Fourth of July represents extra hugs, a big meal and two scoops of ice cream – just because.

As a writer, freedom is precious because I type out my thoughts, my emotions and my opinions without fear of retribution or arrest. Our freedom of speech is such a precious commodity, never to be taken for granted. May we never lose it.

In the last few years, I have also watched another type of freedom manifested. Women I worked with who finally realized their abusers were not going to respect healthy boundaries. Brave women who said, “Enough!” and found the courage to pack up and leave. The freedom these women now experience is like coming up for air after drowning for years.

The freedom I now feel to explore my writing gift and to schedule my writing clients. No longer chained to the 8 to 8 job or the “available 24-7” mantra. This type of freedom allows me to read a book, take a nap or stir up some brownie batter when I feel like it.

Freedom also comes with a price. Saying “no” to compulsive buying because freelance work means balancing a precarious budget. Facing condemnation when the freedom to leave becomes a reason for judgment in the church pew. Making sure our constitutional laws are followed no matter how far up the ladder one has climbed.

Freedom costs, but it’s worth it.

The ultimate freedom for me is to know who I am and to embrace my authenticity by setting boundaries around anything that might try to take my freedoms from me.

On this Fourth of July – I will speak a prayer of gratitude for all the freedoms I enjoy. I will hug my son again and have another scoop of ice cream. And I will embrace the joy of living in this land of the free, begging God to keep us so.

How do hope and freedom coincide? Easy. Without freedom, we have no hope for a happy future. Without hope, we feel trapped within emotional prisons.

I am grateful for the hope freedom brings and the freedom hope clings to.

©2017 RJ Thesman, Author ofSometimes They Forget and the Reverend G Trilogy

 

 

Advertisements

Freedom to Write

It’s one of those things we take for granted, because it’s always been part of our lives – but only since 1791 when the First Amendment to the Constitution was ratified.

James Madison and George Mason, the men credited with writing the Bill of Rights, must have realized how important free speech would become to the new republic, so they made sure that the First Amendment stated that freedom clearly:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

It is this freedom that allows me to post this blog and write whatever I feel – as long as I don’t slander anyone or commit an act of treason.

It is this freedom that feeds my creativity so that when I type out the story in my head, I know it can be submitted and published without fear.

It is this freedom that helps me appreciate all the publishers, agents and editors who work so hard to make sure that writers tell the absolute truth with the most effective words.

It is this freedom that warms my soul every time someone asks me what I do and I reply, “I work as Program Director and Life Coach at a women’s ministry and that is what I do. But a writer – that is who I am.”

It is this freedom that allows me to question when someone speaks or writes a sentence I might not agree with. Analyzing and digging for the truth is also who I am as a writer and to not have the right to disagree would be appalling.

It is this freedom that I salute every time I finish a manuscript and send it through cyberspace – hoping that someone somewhere will see my words and be moved in some way, perhaps even to the point of taking action and finding hope.

It is this freedom that gives me the right to say, “Thank you” to my readers and respond when my words bring comments.

It is this freedom that keeps the libraries and the bookstores open, feeding the dreams of young boys and girls who want more than anything else to become writers.

And it is this freedom that allows us to cherish the oldest and longest-selling book, the one manuscript that has been on the best-seller lists over and over and continues to sell in its various versions, dialects and languages. The truth sets us free, and the freedom to read the Bible is still one of our greatest treasures.

Amer flagSo writers and readers, be thankful this Fourth of July. Be grateful that you live in the land of the free where your words can fly from your fingers to your computer screen into a reader’s soul.

Be grateful for the freedom to write what you feel and what stirs your creative juices. And celebrate the freedoms of America.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” http://amzn.to/11QATC1

Image: Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID http://www.garrisonphoto.org