Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free to Choose

Countries go to war over it. People sacrifice their lives in pursuit of it. Songs are written about it. Speeches expound it's virtues. Evil men try to destroy it. Brave men and women stand in harm's way to defend it.
Freedom. Independence. Liberty.
It's no wonder we cherish it so. The Declaration of Independence refers to it as our inalienable right. It goes much deeper than that, though. Freedom is one of the first and most basic gifts we were ever given. It's something we fought for in a time so long ago, we can't remember it. We stood together and faced the first of many who would take it away from us.
Our Father, in his loving kindness, knew we needed to be free to choose for ourselves. He knew that there was only one way for us to be happy. He could forsee that we needed to find out for ourselves what was right and wrong. That in the process, if we chose right, we would be entitled to the ultimate joy. He trusted us with this amazing gift. Then, aware that we would make mistakes, He gave us a way back. After the gift of freedom, He gave us the greatest gift of all- our Savior.
Now, we're here, our memories blocked, yet we still yearn for it. Our minds may not remember, but I believe our spirits do. Somewhere, deep inside, we know that we are meant to be free. That instinct drives us to do whatever is necessary to achieve liberty. Some of us are so very lucky to live in a country that provides us that blessing. We have the extreme advantage of being defended by those who willingly put their lives on the line without a thought for themselves.
My choices aren't always right, they are sometimes even hurtful. Right or wrong, I am so grateful for the opportunity to make them. I'm thankful that I was born here with the ability to do as I please. I'm overwhelmed and humbled when I watch the jets fly over my house and am reminded on a daily basis of the selfless sacrifices made on my behalf. Today, I'm grateful for this country and the liberties it affords me. And, more than that, I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father for giving me the freedom to choose and for providing a Savior to help me back home.

"Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man." -David O. McKay

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