Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sowing the seeds of freedom

Thursday, 11 November 2010 - Today is Remembrance Day or Veteran's Day depending on which side of the border you are on. And though we choose not to remember the great Canadian American War (that no doubt took place on a sheet of ice, with sticks and cold hard rubber), but to remember those who fought, gave their freedom and lives, gave limbs and sanity, gave blood and tears, for a world that could live as one, we sometimes forget that freedom is not a right... it is a gift. Like all gifts, there was a giver of that gift. An old Chinese proverb says:
When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them. 
I spent the day yesterday with my sister, a woman who despite her circumstances, gives thanks for the gift of her beautiful baby girls, her friends and her family. Anyone in her position - dealing with the cruel challenges that life has bestowed upon her, would curse the ground, the gods, the cards dealt - and you could forgive them their trespasses. Life is cruel, and yet, we live a life of freedom because another's cruelty was fought with further cruelty and loss. Despite the pain and the daily fight, my sister is able to live  the life of a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend.  She was free to make those choices and to experience all that freedom can gift her - regardless of the wrapping.

This may seem a far stretch from what today is about, but it is the larger picture for which I am thankful. The chance to make choices about your life, to decide your studies, to choose your path, to plant your garden - these are freedoms. Freedom is a gift, lest us not forget who planted the seeds of freedom.  The veterans, the war heroes, the battle scarred, the wounded, the dead, the families they left behind.

Today is also a good friend's birthday. I have deep admiration and respect for someone who, as a matter of course, spends their day remembering not what was on the Amazon wish list, but more often than not in the rain, watching the Remembrance Day parades, and the broadcasts from the Capital, mourning the souls gone but not forgotten. It is a birthday that not only celebrates another year, but another year of freedom.

To quote another ancient John Lennon proverb:
Imagine there's no countries 
It isn't hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people 
Living life in peace 
Happy birthday. Indeed another year of freedom and life in peace is a gift. Let us not forget who sowed the seeds - in blood soaked soil.

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