Many people go to a dictionary when in doubt of the definition of a word and the first thing I found under freedom was to “see FREE & -DOM.” Numerous words are given to express freedom but in essence they all appear to be related to, not being controlled by another person, or they have something to do with the government.
My idea of freedom is not so limited. Even if I were under the control of another human being, under civil restraints, or military bondage I could experience freedom. There is not a person on this earth who can control my thoughts.
As it is, I do not have to be concerned about any of the restrictions aforementioned. That leads me to give thought to another type of freedom, or lack thereof, which I’ll name “ the freedom of mobility.” There are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States who can relate to a sense of bondage if they so choose. Illness of one type or another that causes restrictions of mobility may be a major cause of depression. Depression and other mental conditions place unwanted restraints on young and old. Physical debilitation, only some of which are temporary, also interfere with one’s freedom.
Enough of what robs people of their freedom to be what they want to be, or go where they want to go. When the word FREEDOM was presented to me for this article my first thought was my freedom to … and then I stopped. I did not know where to begin because I am free to do so many things. I am free to look around me or to turn my attention farther and look outside through a window. I am free to watch birds gather early in the morning and perform their gymnastics in the sky over apartments across the street. Some days they are pigeons and on other days the doves arrive first. The doves are more creative and gather in large flocks of fifty or more then fly in large figure-of- eight formations until time for colorful balloons to take off from a nearby field. The birds line up on roofs of apartments across the street, all facing in the same direction and patiently watch the preparation of gas filled balloons for lift-off. The doves are careful not to fly around and get in the way of the balloons. The pigeons are not so considerate and fly up, down and all around.
Sunrise and sunsets sometimes extend to within my range of vision and no two are alike. I am free to arise early enough to view a sunrise if I so chose.
Freedom involves so many things I cannot possibly relate them all. Each late afternoon and evening I retire to my living room to read or watch my favorite TV game shows. If my daughter pops a DVD movie in later I am free to watch it or close my eyes and doze for a while. I am grateful for the freedom I have to listen, or not, to the local and world news and I am aware that there are countries that will broadcast messages we call propaganda on all stations or channels in an attempt to control what the people will hear. Do those same people have freedom to silence their radios and TVs so they are free to listen to the songs of birds or to children playing, laughing and singing? I don’t know, but I have that freedom. When I am alone in a room I am free to listen to music even if only within my head, or I can gaze out the window at the sky and enjoy my freedom to build castles in the air. Well, maybe not castles but as I sit and watch fluffy white clouds form and change shape I like to see how many animals or characters I can identify
I start each day appreciating the freedom I have to choose how I will spend my day knowing I am free to change my mind at any time and do something else. I remember something my father taught me when he said, “You never do anything you don’t want to do.” I choose to be free and appreciate my freedom to make that choice.
Frequently our airwaves are filled with reminders about the courage and dedication of thousands who are fighting for our freedom and with Memorial Day we are reminded over and over again of the millions who throughout the years have fought to keep our country and the people in it free. In place of fighting – a totally destructive idea – for our freedom, let us begin to concentrate on peace. Peace is never won by war, it is attained only after the warring sides decide they will stop fighting and live in a more peaceful environment.
The more attention that is directed to any idea or thought, the more it becomes a reality. Since the fight against particular diseases has been thrust into the awareness of the public the greater the number of those who succumb to the devastation of those diseases. We can make better progress if we use care in the selection of our words and thoughts
“Love one another.” If that one suggestion were taken to heart and practiced daily, there would be no need for any other and “freedom” would never become an issue or require a definition.
We as individuals have the freedom and right to make choices for ourselves, not for anyone else. By declaring we have the right to place any restriction on another, we deny that individual his/her freedom. As long as we do no harm to another our choices are our own and therein lies our freedom.
Rowena Nichols, RN, Dr. MMT, PTA. Registered Nurse with BS in Nursing, Dr. of Medical Massage Therapy, and Physical Therapy Assistant(Certification). Beyond the use of her mass credentials, she has had a “full and rewarding life,” including living and teaching in Chile and returning to nursing at age 80. Currently, she is writing articles for several Newsletters and magazines, including problem solving for tutors of English at a Literacy organization in New Mexico.