Happy Independence Day!
As I sit here on the 4th of July with my family, I find that I have redefined the definition of Independence Day over the years. As a child, the 4th of July symbolized fun, family, friends, gatherings, and local cultural events and activities. It symbolized a type of freedom that meant I could do whatever I wanted to do on that day. Nothing could stop me! I was free to celebrate and have fun. But as I’ve grown older and more experienced, I’ve desired a different type of freedom, a different way to embrace my Independence Day. There are 5 things that define this day for me:
- Love: I’ve learned the true definition of love over time. What makes my heart free is releasing it from the chains that precludes true, unconditional, and accepting love.
- Truth: Truth is the foundation of freedom because living a lie, is living in bondage. The lie may feel like freedom because it is often supported by denial, repression, and sublimation. But truth is always the gate to freedom.
- Self-awareness: If I don’t know who I am, I am in bondage to the social and cultural standards that attempt to define who I am. I don’t have to be what society and culture strives to make me. I am who I am. I do not attempt to make myself into something that I am naturally not.
- Spirituality: While I live by the standard that it is not ultimately beneficial to “force” one’s beliefs on another, I live by my faith and moral convictions, I do not hide them. It is my faith that provides the steady foundation by which I live, walk, and operate.
- Forgiveness and equality: Through forgiveness of those who have wronged me, I learn the power of love. Forgiveness has always frightened people, especially my clients, into thinking that they are letting someone off the hook. But the reality is that they are simply freeing themselves and allowing themselves to come into a new understanding of that person. With feelings of resentment and anger, it is difficult to objectively understand another and see where it is that we ourselves are being held hostage by our own feelings. My grandmother would use a wise analogy, she would say ” ‘ T,’ you have to forgive because while you are holding on to that anger, that person is somewhere laughing and living their life.” Even though I hated to hear that, she was right! In regards to equality, you cannot be free if bias and preconceived notions paint your world. Independence Day is not only about Americans, but those who have contributed a great deal of sweat, blood, tears, and labor to the foundations of the American Culture.
Not everyone will agree with my new definition of True Freedom, but I challenge you to consider it. There are a lot of hurting people, lonely people, confused minds, and longing souls in the world. One day of national celebration will not change many lives today. So I want to encourage you to consider a new Freedom, a new perspective on life that can set your soul free. It is an independence that will be eternal and everlasting, free from society’s definition of “freedom.” This type of freedom surpasses all understanding.
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