Friday the 4th

It’s not nearly as scary sounding as Friday the 13th, is it? In fact, for all Americans, this day is a symbol of freedom. A day to rejoice. A time for celebration. A time for reflection. A time to remember how lucky we are to be a part of this blessed country.

Yet, a lot of us do not feel free in so many ways, now do we? How could we? We are stuck in a war. We fear for our national safety. We fear for our health. Gas prices are keeping us awake at night. We’re losing our homes and our jobs. We’re slaves to our debts. And we’re slaves to our doubts. And these, just to name a few. I don’t know about you, but It’s definitely more scary than happy to me.

A week ago, I was with some friends and I couldn’t resist the temptation to share with them the good news that I am now totally debt-free. You should’ve seen everyone’s jaw drop. One of them cracked a joke and said that because of this, I am now being un-American. As if I no longer relate to normal society. That was when I realized the fact that freedom isn’t normal. It’s not an everyday thing. In fact, it is rare.

I had a recent conversation with another friend. She was telling me how joyful she is but at the same time, struggling to find herself. As if she does not know who she is inside. Too many questions, not enough answers, I guess. Fear and loneliness. More reasons to dodge freedom.

Another friend of mine at work was telling me how emptiness just fills her heart all the time. Now, I can sympathize with her having been divorced fairly recently. However, I refuse to be a slave to emptiness. I believe that emptiness is overrated. Loneliness is overrated. Like an overweight person too lazy to get up and exercise, it’s all a decision, really. You do or you don’t. What’s it gonna be?

Friday the 4th In my life, I have known people who are lonely and fearful and empty. They stay that way a long time because they don’t do much about it. In the end, I have learned that sometimes, these places are a safe haven for them. These places, though unhealthy, are what’s familiar and comfortable. It’s all they know. I have learned this because I’ve been there myself. Where Heaven is a faraway land. Love and forgiveness are a foreign concept. Integrity and self-confidence are non-existent. Freedom is a scary proposition. And bravery is something you see in the movies.

Have you ever been so critical that you fail to see the good? Is your glass half empty or half full? Yeah yeah yeah, it’s cliche, I know.

Well, here it is… the Day of Independence, in America anyway. We’re gonna fire up the grill and barbecue to our heart’s content. We’re gonna watch the fireworks and be proud that we belong in this so-called land of the free and home of the brave. What’s your plan? Me, I’m gonna be people watching (while gnawing on my pork ribs, of course). I’m gonna be hangin’ out with friends and strangers alike. Hangin’ out with the free and the brave, if you will.

This could be scary, indeed. Wish me luck.