Gratitude Sunday: How Do You Define Freedom?

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Earthworm hides in cool
soil, dirt-protected from sun,
waiting for fall rain.

Sunday Musings
What does freedom mean? What does freedom mean to you? I’ve asked a few people this question lately and I am getting a wide variety of answers, but one common answer seems to be “to do what I want as long as it doesn’t hurt others.”

The average people I talked to want the freedom to work enough hours to support themselves and their families, with enough time to spend with their families, or refreshing themselves; to own homes, maintain them, and improve them; to travel world-wide when and as they wished; to purchase food and items necessary to their personal comfort.

These same people agreed that with those freedoms come responsibility, such as paying your bills, taking care of yourself and your property, not hurting other people, and standing up for your rights and the rights of others.

All of which is doable, but it takes work and it means making community connections so we realize and reaffirm how we are all connected despite our differences.

However, we, the average people who answered my questions, are up against a monstrous value difference. Freedom means something entirely different to the billionaire class. Freedom for them means freedom to spend their money to influence policies and procedural outcomes to benefit their profit margins. Freedom to pay the least amount possible to workers while they fill their pockets. Freedom to poison the earth because the cost of paying lawyers and violation fees is cheaper than clean manufacturing and production while still producing profit for their bottom lines. Freedom to find tax loopholes so they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, though even if they paid more than their share they would still own vastly more than most Americans. Of course, billionaires don’t worry about housing or health care or food on their table. Billionaires care about their second and third house, their chauffeured limousines, their private jets, and their yachts, while you and I just want to pay the mortgage and property tax for the little bungalow and put food on our tables. Freedom in the guise of greed is reprehensible.

Freedom can be bought. It sometimes is bought with our tax dollars, as evidenced by the bank bailout in 2008. The difference in the definition of freedom makes the question of whose freedom you want to buy even more important. Do we want the freedom for billionaires to buy whatever they want, to control federal policy, and wages, and housing prices, and affordable health care, and banking procedures in the name of their own profit? Or do we want freedom for the citizens of the United States for the right to work and earn a living wage and own homes and take care of our families?

As we go through this 4th of July think of what freedom means to you. With freedom comes responsibility. We have the freedom to enjoy local rivers and lakes and beaches. Take the time to put life jackets on everybody, especially the littles even if they can swim. Your community aches with grief when families drown while playing.

We have the freedom to share common roads to get to our 4th of July destination. Take the time to plan your route and have plenty of time for your trip. Reckless behavior and speed kills people and kills time for others who share our roads. Travel safely. Save the drinking for after your arrival.

We have the freedom to enjoy a little wildness and set off explosives even within city limits. *Please note: many city, county, state, and national parks never allow fireworks.* Take the time to prepare your chosen launching spot and make sure you aren’t aiming at a neighbor’s roof or dry garden and that you aren’t lighting fireworks near dry grasses. Always have a big bucket of water to soak used fireworks in as they can smolder and reignite. Our communities grieve when homes are lost or people are hurt when a little care could prevent it.

We have the freedom to enjoy speaking as we wish. Engage your brain and be creative; remain civil; avoid expletives and name calling, or if you must, creatively employ classic Shakespearean epithetic aspersions. No need to hurt feelings with everyday potty mouths when you can be improving vocabulary with well thought out invectives. Why hurt feelings at all when we can act out of kindness and inclusion instead? Hate and division are not a way forward. We have the freedom to move forward in the world, and the responsibility to include even the least of us. We have the freedom to help each other and ourselves, but not if it harms others or the earth we live on.

This 4th of July we have freedoms, responsibilities, and much on our minds. We are Americans. We may not completely agree, but we have a responsibility to defend the freedom of every citizen, to keep democracy in the hands of the people. No matter who you are, whatever your skin color, or religion, or orientation, or ability, you still have a voice, and there are many ways to be heard in this United States. Stand up against the use of Big Money to influence our government to their profit. Insist corporations be as responsible as us average citizens. We are free, we are responsible, we care. We have to. Let our freedoms ring!

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – It’s red, white, and blue week. This 1919 historic home is just up the street from my home. Love the red door and the blue hydrangea against the classic white architecture. And red roses. And white daisies. And blue nightshade.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Victory (1981, rated PG) with Michael Caine, a soccer game leads to prisoners escaping from a German labor camp. * Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, rated PG – 13). I’d watched this when it first came out and thought it funny, no potty humor, just funny silliness. I’m weird about fantasy movies; I always think the battle and fighting scenes go on too long. Still a recommended movie. * Mona Lisa (1986, rated R) with Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine. A curious movie about a man who is a driver for a prostitute.

Currently Reading The Chalk Pit (2017, fiction) by Elly Griffiths. Aaahhh, the so satisfying twist at the end setting us up for the next novel. No spoilers! * This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class (2017, social and fiscal policy) by Elizabeth Warren. I only get this for another week so I won’t be starting another book until I’m done because I’ll have to go back into the queue again.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Spending time with my sister. Being able to be so frank with her and her being the same with me.
  • Having lunch with sis at a small brew pub where my nephew (her son) had manufactured and installed the brewing equipment.
  • Cavorting with pirates.
  • Watching the 2017 Tillamook June Dairy Parade. It’s been 20 years since my last.
  • Cows. They are nice people.
  • Ice cream.
  • Being gifted a nice bookcase to help organize my book stalagmites.
  • Electronic entertainment viewing on command. Remote controls.
  • Having a pile of movies from the local lending library to choose from when I want to sit down to a movie.
  • A fresh manicure. I broke down and bought a nail polish. All my 30 year old (no exaggeration) bottles were streaks of colorful cement in the bottoms. Still trying to prevent the painful nail splitting from three nights a week in the pool and all the house cleaning I’m doing.
  • How good it felt to throw away all those old unusable bottles of nail polish. I couldn’t even think of some wild craft idea as an excuse to keep them. Gone!
  • Learning a couple new exercises for the pool trying to re-build enough strength to do the same exercises on land.
  • Learning to accept ten minute physical work bursts. If I put enough of them together during the day I can get a whole hour out of myself.
  • Learning how not to think of that as pathetic but just a fact of how aging is happening for me.
  • The salty coastal air blowing many miles over the coast range and into my open summer doors.
  • How joyful the kids sounded when the neighbors had a pool party one lovely June afternoon this week.
  • How quiet it was when the party was over.
  • Looking forward to a day with a long time friend.
  • Yellow and red new potatoes, green scallions, bags full of green and red leaf lettuce. Num num.
  • Brief season for Oregon Hood strawberries this year and glad I ate my share.
  • Everbearing strawberries so I can feed my strawberry dependence until first frost.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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