Monday, November 2, 2009

As Long as My Heart Beats ... by Cindy Beck

A Tribute to Freedom

© 2009 Cindy Beck

My dad served in the Air Force as a career military man, and he’s now retired. I have been, and always will be, proud of him and the way in which he served his country, and his willingness to go to war to defend our liberties.

It’s to him, and to all valiant veterans, that I dedicate the following thoughts on freedom.

As Long as My Heart Beats

What can be written about freedom that hasn’t already been penned? The words of our American forefathers—far more articulate and expressive than anything I could ever compose—declare our right to freedom. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”1

All I can give then, are my simple thoughts ….

Freedom is what gives me the right to walk the hills at daybreak, watching the pink and gold clouds caress the mountaintops, with no worry that someone will demand a passport, papers, or even ask me why I choose wandering instead of working at a government stipulated job.

The meadowlark’s tune in the canyon sings to me of those who came before—men and women of bravery and courage, who loved liberty more than life and willingly gave their all, making the supreme sacrifice so that I might listen, in peace and free from bondage, to that lark’s lilting song.

A stone’s throw away lies a brook that ripples and laughs on its way to the mighty sea. It speaks to me of freedom to worship a Heavenly Father, to gather with other believers on a bright Sabbath morn and express our love of God in songs, that like the babblings of the brook, rise to the heavens—a right granted with no restrictions by a government that would curtail beliefs in the Holy One of Israel.

And yet, that brook also gurgles of the rights of others to not worship any supreme being at all. Freedom has not always been, but ever should be, universal. All mankind, not just Americans, have been “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” And I, like the stream, must be willing to allow—no, not just to allow but to encourage—freedom to flow to others, even when their beliefs are different than mine.

The dark-eyed doe that browses on the tender grass reminds me of the right to bear arms, not only as a means to obtain food, but as a protection against an unrighteous government—perhaps foreign, perhaps not—that would choose to rob me of the precious freedoms that I hold dear.

The fawn that suckles near her side causes my heart to swell with gratitude for the liberty to not only choose to procreate but also to decide the number of little feet that might pitter-patter through my life. Freedom insures that the dark-haired, Down syndrome daughter holds as much worth as the blond-haired, highly intelligent son, and that no parent has to choose the life of one over the other.

It is freedom that allows me to attempt to convey in my own simple words the eloquent truths that Thomas Jefferson expressed so well. And as long as my heart beats and forever after, it is my hope that freedom will reign in this great country.

1. United States of America’s Declaration of Independence


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