Saturday, July 4, 2009

Freedom Thoughts-Grateful Yet Mindful


Here we are. The Fourth of July has arrived once again and we have made our plans to celebrate. Happy Birthday America! We have much to give thanks for in our nation, our communities and individual lives. Last night I was reflecting on all the blessings contained in the day. It was a combination of a bunch of little things that just made the day wonderful. And I realize that it is because of the freedoms we have been granted that I was able to enjoy that kind of day. In the closing of a simple and peaceful day, I fell asleep talking to the Lord, listing out all the little gifts He bestowed, and thanking Him for all He did for me.

On the other hand, I awoke this morning with not only an attitude of gratefulness, but also a heavy heart of mindfulness. It is so easy to make special occasions about us and ours. And there is nothing wrong about it. However, when I saw in the news this morning that there are over 25,000 homeless school age children in the state of Arizona, I reminded that I cannot contain myself to me and mine. This tragedy is an 18% increase since just last year.

On the day that our country celebrates freedom, I am mindful that there are many who are having trouble celebrating the meaning of freedom day. The poverty stricken may not feel overly free, but bound up in the present circumstances.

Now I am not trying to rain on any one's parade. However, I personally cannot help this day to think of those who are hurting and suffering. The unemployment rate in the Phoenix area has continued to rise. Charity funds have dropped, therefore people are being turned away. And even churches are having a hard time assisting the needy because many of them are having trouble meeting their own overhead.

Yes, I am thankful and I will celebrate this day the freedom that I have been given. However, I will also lift those who live around me and contemplate the lives of others who may find it difficult to celebrate. Freedom was not granted in order to hoard. It was given that we may pay it forward. How can we share our freedom today that others who are downtrodden my have it too? It may just be a simple word of encouragement. Sit down and write a letter to a friend or loved one who is going through a tough time. Buy a gift for someone "just because". Invite someone you may not know very well into your home for a meal. Spend a few minutes with your family in prayer today for our President, his family and other governmental leaders. Share the gifts God has given you in creative ways. You never gesture of kindness may break a thick chain and set someone free. May Freedom ring and may it ring though us!

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