The photo to the right has absolutely nothing to do with this blog. Problem is, I am deficient in the area of photographs - just don't have many other than Eli pictures. Until I have more, to add color to my communication, I will simply add images that appeal to me. This very old Verdi poster, with copyright expired, is my random choice for the day.
Something has been troubling me, niggling at the edges of my awareness, floating in and out of thought, and has turned into full-scaled burrowing into my core. It's so annoying when that happens unbidden, when something prompts you to think way beneath the surface, to realize your first thoughts were cliche. It's annoying when you have been comfortable in a state of not looking (Slum Dog Millionaire shook me out of the state of not looking, but I digress).
My latest attack of the fidgets began a few days ago when Tara Bradford at Paris Parfait requested that her readers write briefly about what freedom means to them (and a drawing for something French was involved). This closely followed the inauguration. The word freedom had been fairly hanging in the air, floating like a great blimp, as we all witnessed the very fruition of freedom on many levels. It took me just a minute to write a response:
Freedom is being able to whisper into my Grandbaby's ear that the limitations to his future are bounded by his own imagination and his will. His Grandmother sometimes imposed limitations out of fear on her own life that were not imposed by law or opportunity. I want him to embrace this free world of possibility that I have so often taken for granted, and fall in love with it with a passion that will help ensure its sustenance. If we don't love it truly, we can contribute to its quiet demise, tiny piece by tiny piece.
After the comment was published and I reread it, I felt unsatisfied. It was thin and lacked the fullness that freedom deserves and demands.
There is the foundation of freedom to be acknowledged, that usually is comprised of hope made real by blood and bones of the hopeful whose hope was fortified by unconditional commitment. Then there is the element of responsibility on those of us who inherit blood-bought liberties. Inherent in freedom must be the acceptance of responsibility for others. I wrote above that Eli's future had limitations of imagination and will. But, it must have another boundary and that is compassion. Freedom is not license for pursuit without restraint, without the modulation of a deep caring for humanity and our earth. The exercise of freedom should, if anything, be threaded with humility and gratefulness. Otherwise, we are a country, a world, of narcissists, jostling shoulder against shoulder, craving supremacy. Now there is a picture of thin freedom.
So, what is missing from what I said? What can I tell Eli about freedom that will ring true?
I think the essential balancing element, the force that puts flesh on freedom , while we pursue our own choices, whatever they might be, is love. Freedom has to be tempered by love for it to be sweet. Love for everyone's liberty, though I may disagree with another person's path; love for the unfortunate and disenfrancised who are free in law, but bound in circumstance. Love that is alive with words and action.
We owe homage to the freedom we possess by following dreams ... and dreaming big. There is nothing wrong with discovering ourselves and striving to be the best we can be. There is nothing wrong with stretching as far as we can stretch in every direction we can envision - as long as we love. That takes care of the big picture and the small picture. If I take with one hand and give with the other, I am free, otherwise it is a lopsided, counterfeit kind of life.
Those are my decided thoughts at this moment, but I have a feeling the thoughts will continue. Freedom is a big thought, after all.