Sunday, August 23, 2009

Freedom. Real Freedom

When I hear or think of the word "freedom" the scene from Braveheart comes to mind, where William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) is being tortured in an effort to make him renounce his freedom movement. While in excruciating pain, he signals his tormentors that he wants to talk. They bow down in front of his face to hear what they hoped would be a statement of capitulation. To their chagrin, Wallace screams to the top of his lungs, a long drawn-out rally to “FREEDOM!”

I could probably write at length about the feelings I have for freedom. I will just shorten those feelings to this: I would hope that I would have the personal integrity and strength to stand-up for freedom should it come to a point that we Americans should once again need to shed a tyrannical government.

For the moment though, I just want to tell you about the dream I remembered from last night. It spoke of one of the many aspects of freedom.

I found myself in a small farming community somewhere in the Midwest. There are many dieing towns with populations of less than one-thousand souls here in Nebraska. I suspect I had moved to one of them, for some reason. I needed a place to stay but the only place available was a small house in which three other people were living. As I walked into the rear door of the house, I found myself immediately in the kitchen. The old linoleum floor was cracking, and pieces of it were flaking. The floor was mushy under the feet, and it creaked with every step I took. There was a smell of musty damp wood. The refrigerator was an ancient gas refrigerator that clunked and clanked as it turned on. The stove was an old gas stove with the heavy iron grid work where the pots and pans would sit. The oven door did not have a glass viewing port. The clock on the stove had long since stopped from the grease and dirt clogging the workings and causing the motor windings to burn up. The ceiling was dingy from grease and dirt that had never been washed. There were no tables or chairs, but at the opposite end of the kitchen, in what should have been the dining area, was a dirty dark couch—my bed.

To the left of the entry way was a dark, short hallway leading to the two bedrooms. A large window nearly covered one wall of the kitchen. The window was covered by a filthy white, thin see-through curtain. The window was not a window to the outside; showed into one of the bedrooms. The occupants of the bed in that bedroom watched me through the curtain. The foot of the bed, was in fact, level with the base of the window and shoved flush against the window.

The two women dressed in night apparel lay on their bellies, actively watching me, giggling and whispering to one another, knowing that I could see them as well as they could see me. I sensed from them an attitude of arrogance with a question of whether or not I would be able to live in those conditions, with them always able to see everything I did in that end of the kitchen. I would have absolutely no privacy in that house. The two women kissed each other and waited for a reaction from me. I threw my backpack on the couch. I felt the challenge from them, and an attitude which said, “We are free to do whatever we want. We have no shame. Can you take it?”

One of my dogs barked, waking me from the dream. I laid in the recliner trying to make sense of the dream. I'm not sure if the dream made sense, really, but it started my thoughts on freedom. My character in the dream lived an open life. Having no privacy was somewhat of an annoyance, but I had nothing to hide; I did not do anything that would bring negative judgments on me. The situation was tolerable.

The two women, while they felt they had freedom, flaunted their life-style in defiance. The truth be known, they were not free at all. They could not change their life if they wanted to, because they had become slaves to their lifestyle, flaunting it in an attempt to say they had made a choice and therefore were free. The arrogance was a way to cover the fact that they no longer had choices.

Is it true then, that a man who lives in good conscience is a truly free man?

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