Usually, we celebrate Independence Day with history lessons. Not that it’s wrong, but sometimes we do lose sight of what history is supposed to teach us in the present. Like what did we become ‘independent’ about? What was “freedom” really mean?
As much as I’d love to go into etymologies, that is not the case of my blog. Rather, I wanted to reflect: what does freedom mean for me?
Here’s my top 12 ‘freedoms’ I really thank God for:
- The freedom to enjoy good food. Seriously, sometimes I take it for granted. Sure, I can afford to eat proper meals now or even treat myself occasionally. But it hadn’t been that way always; I’ve had my worse days — days were I really went by without anything in my pockets, much less my stomach. Getting a chance to actually choose what we eat, and when to eat is a privilege!
- The freedom to enjoy movies. I hate to argue about torrents. But let’s admit it: it did allow us access to a lot more movies than before — where we’re limited to what’s on the cinemas, what’s on the now-extinct video shop rentals, and the sidewalk pirated CD stalls. But more than that, we get to enjoy movies without the excessive censorship (like what happened to MIB3 in China).
- The freedom to read books. Again, it’s not just the freebies I get online; there are places where one could actually enjoy reading for free! I remember how frustrated I am because I couldn’t afford to collect the entire Hardy Boys collection as a kid. But when I got here in Metro Manila, I fell in love with Powerbooks. I got to read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy there, as well as the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series, along with some Marvel and DC comic books and assorted reads. And yes, some countries also censor books.
- The freedom to sing. Even when untalented. Just check out the streets: there’s always a videoke. As much as some of us (me included) hate the awful semi-musical howls, it just proves how free we are. Just imagine if singing horribly was against the law (although I would draft a law about that if ever I get into Congress).
- The freedom to speak our thoughts. Thank God I haven’t heard about any blogger yet being shot or kidnapped here in the Philippines for some stance he/she made. Being able to express freely is one of my most important freedoms. It keeps me sane. It keeps me grounded. It keeps me impassioned. It keeps me believing and dreaming. It keeps me focused.
- The freedom to worship God. Yes, we still live in a nation and period of time where our religious and spiritual expressions are unhindered and unchallenged — while all around the world, Christianity and other faiths are continuously being persecuted, criticized or maligned. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
- The freedom to say ‘No.’ Sure, I sucked at this freedom before. But I thank God that I realized I could actually exercise this freedom —without feeling guilty of letting someone down, or offending people, or simply not wanting to do something. This freedom has allowed me to really see the things that I need to say ‘YES!” to.
- The freedom to connect and stay in touch. Just a few days ago, I almost panicked when I found out that our company’s IT team blocked Facebook. Not that I’m addicted; but seriously, for someone who’s (almost) always in the office and with no one waiting at home, social networks have become my personal oasis for human communication. Thank God, they removed the block. Wew. Besides, social networks are more practical in the office: one can multi-task with browsers. You can’t use the mobile phone and a computer at the same time.
- The freedom to procrastinate. Haha. I’ll try to get back to this item later.
- The freedom to love, and be loved. Okay, that sounds so… cliché. But imagine if we still lived in a time of arranged marriages, of conquerors and barbarians where men just carry off the women like plunder. But not just romance! One of the awesomest things a single guy can have is to have a circle of friends who care for him no matter what… (now, where to find that circle…)
- The freedom to be illogical, irrational and just plain childish crazy. Here’s a little secret: I wasn’t born “logical” or “analytical”. I was forced to become one when I started joining the Boy Scout and the PMT Corps. And that hellish summer of endless chess games with my dad. My best memories with my dad includes snuggling under his armpit, sleeping on his tummy, playing puppy (biting his arms or feet). My best family trip memory includes me running wild in a grass field with no sensible explanation, and I would just jump from one mound of grass to another, hugging and smelling the weird smelling earth. Wow, I could actually write an entire blog series about my childish, illogical frustrations…
- Lastly, the freedom to just be alone. Sure, I do hate being alone at times. But being alone can also be a privilege — especially when I just need to talk or cry to God. People keep saying it’s not good to be alone, always stick with the group… and that makes sense. But sometimes, it is this freedom to stay away that keeps me together. Because I am reminded about what’s really important, what’s really free. And I can only see that when I relearn each day to let go of the shackles of worries and fears, and trust Him – my eternal King.