Tag Archives: liberty

My Privilege

A friend of mine recently accused me of being privileged for my being white. Here is a list of things I am privileged for:

  • I am privileged for being forgiven in the eyes of Christ, because I do not deserve to be.
  • I am privileged for being born in the greatest country in history, because some are not.
  • I am privileged for being able to look beyond the color of skin, because some cannot.
  • I am privileged to have been raised in a family that loves, because some are raised hating.
  • I am privileged to have been an alcoholic, so I may appreciate sobriety.
  • I am privileged to have been homeless, so I may appreciate shelter.
  • I am privileged to have gone bankrupt, so I may appreciate money.
  • I am privileged to have known loneliness, so I may appreciate friendship.
  • I am privileged to have known heartache, so I may appreciate healing.
  • I am privileged to have been incarcerated, so I may appreciate freedom.
  • I am privileged to be single, so I may appreciate relationships.
  • I am privileged to know failure, so I may appreciate success.
  • I am privileged to have traveled the country, so I may appreciate liberty.
  • I am privileged to have been a dishwasher, so I may appreciate good jobs.
  • I am privileged to have been kicked out of school, so I may appreciate learning.
  • I am privileged to know how to read, so I may appreciate history.
  • I am privileged to know how to write, so I may appreciate the written word.
  • I am privileged to have health, so I may appreciate my body.
  • I am privileged to ride my bicycle, so I may appreciate my driver’s license.
  • I am privileged to know hard work, so I may appreciate a paycheck.
  • I am privileged to have gone hungry, so I may appreciate food.
  • I am privileged to have gone thirsty, so I may appreciate cold water.
  • I am privileged to have slept in subways, so I may appreciate warm beds.
  • I am privileged to have known mercy, so I may appreciate compassion.
  • I am privileged to have prayed with the hurting, so I may appreciate peace.
  • I am privileged to have known destitution, so I may appreciate my blessings.
  • I am privileged to have understood death, so I may appreciate life.
  • I am privileged to ride the public bus, so I may appreciate cars.
  • I am privileged for my meager possessions, so I may appreciate the less fortunate.
  • I am privileged for my talents, so I may appreciate my weaknesses.
  • I am privileged for being born, so I may appreciate the world around me.
  • I am privileged for understanding hard times, so I may appreciate victory.
  • I am privileged to have known brokenness, so I may appreciate wholeness.
  • I am privileged to be able to read my bible, so I may appreciate religious freedom.
  • I am privileged to be able to speak my mind, so I may appreciate free speech.
  • I am privileged to be mental, so I may appreciate sanity.
  • I am privileged to stop writing this post, so I may appreciate free will.
  • I am privileged after all.

Bombs bursting in air.

Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel

Next month I am leaving my home to journey across America. I am packing up my minivan and hitting the proverbial road. Words cannot fully describe the multitude of emotions I feel over this quest of mine. It’s hard to believe I’m finally doing it. With nothing but a few bucks in my pocket and some prayers floating around the stratosphere, I am leaving all which is dear to me. I am leaving all that is familiar. I hate to use the caterpillar analogy because it’s a little girly and I don’t want to mention snakes shedding skin because, well, I don’t want to compare myself to a slithering serpent, but I will come out of this trip a new person. Cloaked with vigor, I will make my mark on history. Like fireworks exploding on a warm Fourth of July night, I will break free from my former self and shine brightly among the stars.

I can give you my itinerary, I can point out the special places I want to visit, I can even give you names of the soup kitchens I plan on dining in, but I can only speculate as to where this uncharted road will lead me and how long it will take to write a book about it all. Unfortunately, life never dances to the beat of our drums. We just skip along to whatever track is being played and learn to deal with it. I will play the role of Columbus for a short while. With a pen behind my ear and a compass beside my stale coffee, I will draw squiggly lines to and fro like I know what I’m doing. I will drive in awe of my beautiful country and appreciate the wonderful freedom I usually take for granted.

I wonder what it will be like to stand in the center of Washington D.C and marvel at the architecture. I try to imagine what it will be like to drive through the bowels of the Shenandoah Valley. I can picture the rolling hills giving birth to mountain ranges, which spew forth hot desert sands. Miles of open road slice through the landscape like a tongue from some ancient beast. The monster opens wide his mouth and reveals a great mystery. One I will have to take on headfirst with all my strength, with all my heart. After checking in on Elvis and his Heartland, I will cruise along the open highway with my hand outstretched to catch the wind. I will sing-along with Fleetwood Mac and the ever lovely Stevie Nicks.  Once blood clots begin to form in my legs, I’ll pull over on some deserted highway to take pictures of cacti and the vultures above me.  They will lick their beaks and watch me closely. The birds will be disappointed. I will not fear because I have a slingshot and I’m not afraid to use it.

I wrote the first draft of this article last night around midnight. Now it is early morning on the Fourth of July. I love waking up at seven o’clock on my day off, nothing like sitting around for a few hours waiting for the rest of the world to arise from deep sleep. So, I make the best of it by consuming two bowls of Lucky Charms while walking around the house in my robe pretending to be some rich lord from Ireland fending off wicked little leprechaun’s from stealing my bowl of sugary goodness. Actually I am sitting here trying to come up with something funny, and engaging to keep you guys from leaving my page in search of something better. I wouldn’t blame you because searching is the fundamental nature of our lives. It’s what drives us to wake up each morning and seize the day with tenacity. I guess this is why I have decided to leave.

As I sit here and watch the rain slowly drip from the iron handrail outside, I contemplate the beauty of the Grand Canyon and everything I will discover along the way. People will laugh and call me foolish, and even now there are people standing beside me who have doubted this trip from the start. But I tell you this, we are not all called to do the same thing.  Some cuckoo birds weren’t meant to be caged. I hope all of you enjoy your Independence Day. Long live Liberty! Long live Freedom!

Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel


21 Gun Salute ~ Memorial Day observed.

Image

Old Glory ~ Long Island New York circa 2012

I lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of my bishop. If he had waited a few more minutes before heading in to enemy territory I could have sent my knight in to watch his back. The lone rook sat dumbly behind the king watching his fellow soldier sign his own death warrant. As for the lovely queen she flirted with her lowly pawns on my right flank, hopefully giving them a pep talk. My brother smirked on the opposite side of the table. His win streak is climbing and my frustration is not far behind. But I don’t mind so much. I looked to my right and watched my niece and nephews play innocently in their sandbox as a soft breeze carried mellow rock around the backyard. My step-dad flipped burgers rolled the dogs and kept one eye on the kids as Memorial Day weekend settled upon our little part of the country. It was a peaceful time brought to us by the good men and women of our military. Thanks to these protectors of freedom and guardians of liberty, we can enjoy moments like this with loved ones.

My fellow Americans, on this most sacred of holidays we celebrate heroes from the past, of the present and the inevitable future. We hang flags to honor the country and light candles to remember the fallen. The children started to run around the pool with no worries; concerned only with being children and doing kid stuff. I sat back in my chair and contemplated the beauty of freedom and how lucky I am to abide in its’ shadow. I hope and pray my flesh and blood will enjoy it when they turn thirty.

In the past, I have been privileged to work with veterans who like to tell war stories and share experiences. Luckily for me I enjoy this sort of thing. They transport me to worlds of bombs and bullets, of fear and loss, of bravery and companionship. I will never know the bond which binds the lives of soldiers. It’s a blurry picture my creative mind has a hard time focusing on. It’s a day in the life of someone’s shoes I simply cannot fill. These blessed creatures of all color, code and creed have been unified to one single absolute truth; they have all heeded the call of duty for this great nation and gone to war countless times over. Not just physically, but mentally as well. They took up their swords and walked in to battle with heads held high and hearts filled with determination. The earth shook beneath their feet; they fought the good fight and stood their ground. Many made it through unscathed but too many stayed behind in shallow graves. For those who returned, they lived their lives with a new sense of pride, a new hope for things unseen.

My heart is heavy though. I say this because our media has turned this holiday in to nothing more than a moneymaking enterprise. Everywhere I look there are ads for car sales, clothe sales and even airfare discounts. Granted all these things are nice, but for it to overshadow the true meaning of this day is almost sacrilegious. Some paid with their lives so others can hate without prejudice, discriminate without reason, burn our flag and mock our people. This particular blog is not about the haters and the radicals who seek to destroy this nation with words and deed, but in a sense rise above their pettiness and speak to those of us who love life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When we see the red, white and blue parading over our neighborhoods this weekend let us all stop, bow our heads and take a minute to respect those colors and what they stand for. There is an inscription at a chapel in Normandy, France at the Normandy American cemetery which perfectly describes the people we are honoring this weekend: “These endured all and gave all that justice among nations might prevail and that mankind might enjoy freedom and inherit peace.”

To every veteran, M.I.A, P.O.W and deceased hero…thank you for our freedom. Thank you for liberty. I owe my life to you all. Salute and God bless.