Monday, June 30, 2014

When Our Freedom Costs Something

Photo by Amy Minshull

Its early morning.

Dawn rises with a misty haze that makes the place I live look enchanting. I sit in my chair, cupping my coffee and my comfort, close. This is where I come to recharge, refocus, and to fight the pull of all the world with its to-do’s and distractions.

I read from the Psalms, with my window open. Nearby, campers have swelled, forming tent-villages and mini trailer parks. They come to the lake to get away from it all and now, the smell of their camp-fires drift lightly though the screen.

This last week has been full.


A flood of things demanding my most costly resources, of time and energy.

One evening with grand kids, I needed to see. How can they change so much in a few weeks. Those little humans, are all wrapped around my heart. They ate in waves. Undress and re-dress. Drag out the boxes of toys and books and swim accessories. They stay in the hot tub until their fingers shrivel up and then move to the bath tub. Our pets have a love-hate relationship with them. In their aftermath are tasty nuggets of food which serves as a reward, for the disruption of their orderly lives. And when the little people go home I honestly dropped into bed and fall asleep in under thirty seconds.

There were two baby showers this week too.  Two in as many days. Both were full of pink, and soft animals that play lullabies and classic books like Mother Goose. Over-the-top-amazing. It humbles my heart how people went out of their way, took time out of crazy packed schedules, to be a blessing to my daughter.  What I know? It matters that they came. Their presence was the greatest gift.

There was a 60th Anniversary, which is certainly something worth celebrating. Her one lace dress stood the test of time, along with the marriage. Faithfulness and love always seem to travel together.

Longtime friends found their futures hanging in the balance as he stood before a board hearing. A man who has dedicated his one imperfect life, to raising his own family, loving his one wife, teaching and coaching.  Honestly I had other things to do, but found myself watching the process of testimony and trial, prayer walking, and just letting my presence be present in their battle. Thankfully this time, a man will be able to continue to do what he loves to do, and walk closer to the God that rescued him.

But as I drift off to sleep at 2:00 a.m., I am struck with how deeply my soul just wants to be apathetic about life. How many years I've spent in self-preservation, not wanting to rock the politically-correct boat, driving by the homeless, not having time to bend down to talk to the lonely.

It’s easier to sit at a computer all evening than chase three darling small people and repeat one-hundred little tasks only to do them over again.

How often do I send a gift to a wedding, shower or anniversary,  -instead of being a gift?

I’d much rather scroll through e-mails, than send one, to a public official stating a concern I have. I’d much rather drink coffee at my favorite place or sit down to a great meal than sit for hour upon slow-passing hour, while someone’s entire life hangs in the balance.

And I see it all around me too. People who don’t want to get involved. Afraid it might cost them something.

And indeed it may.

What we don’t get is that it will cost us something either way. 

My indifference now, will cost the generations that come behind me.

And just hours later, I’m pulling out on the highway, and I see him. Another homeless man, hunched over on the side of the road. Fortunately, I won’t go directly by him.

And then the irony hits me.

I’m going to church, and there is a man who could use someone to just be the church.

Just one person to not judge him, ignore his plight, or self-righteously determine that a gift of money should not be given, since, "he’ll probably use it on the wrong things." How about if someone, (like me) would just go be present in his hard life, to be Compassion with skin.

What if on this Sunday, one person would show a glimmer of Jesus on Sabbath.

I have no idea in the whole scheme of the universe if it will ever really matter that I took time for that one man with brokenness in his clear blue eyes. But, he was a gift to me. His wind-worn face, was a call to fight my desire to be unconcerned, in my comfortable American life. 

So, as we celebrate Independence Day, I think about the legacy of America. 

How, in 1775, a few, who were considered, “radical colonist,” stood against the status quo and what was politically correct and comfortable. How there were more people who did not want to be involved, but a few who said that taxation without representation was wrong. 

There was a cost to go against the main stream. It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty or convenient. They weren't living comfortable, unconcerned lives as they fought, but for 238 years, people have enjoyed the fruit of what was accomplished.

Thank goodness there were brave men and women that did not let fear and comfort, keep them indifferent.

It is so right and good to celebrate in America, with flags flying and picnics planned and fireworks shooting. 

Because, to have a charming life now, a huge price was paid then, and over and over again. All for our freedoms. 

Freedom to choose how we use our freedom.

And we know that all true freedom comes at a price.

Jesus paid that ultimate price for us all. I hope you know Him. I hope you live Him.

Happy July 4th to you all.


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© Rhonda Quaney