I’ve just finished a book set in the time of Stalin’s rule, just before and after his death. We all know a bit of the history and understand how horrendous it was to live under such intense scrutiny and lack of freedom, but the book just brings that utter terror into harsh reality.
It’s not something the world will ever be without – suppression of certain people, hatred and prejudice. But what struck me as so awful was the fear that everyone lived under – nobody could be completely trusted. Children were encouraged to spy on their parents, wives on husbands, and so it went. Never being free to say a single word without fear of repercussion. One man’s paranoia caused the death of so many innocent people just trying to live their miserable lives and survive in a world not of their own choosing.
Freedom is such a big word and means so many things to different people. Being free to worship whom you please may not sound like a big thing in a free world, but imagine being imprisoned and tortured for owning one book of the Bible? Imagine not being able to walk from one end of your street to the other without being questioned on your motives. Imagine being arrested simply because of your colour.
We see, in the free world, horrors. People abused or hurt. People who have no jobs or no money, or no home, no love. A free world isn’t without its problems, not at all. But at least they’re out in the open somehow. At least if you are unemployed or down on your luck, you can shout that out loud and rage against the unfairness of it all. Imagine if your life were in danger should you even so much as think about fairness?
Imagine. I guess John Lennon said it best.
Freedom is a choice for most people. It’s about choice. You can choose to be where you are or you can stand up and make the change. There really is nothing stopping you – every single obstacle can be overcome. We see every day people making choices that might seem impossible, but the choice is there – that’s freedom.
I hope you choose what’s right for you. I hope you can relish the freedom you have and use it to create a life that’s meaningful, filled with joy and passion. I hope that on most days you can wake up and say ‘Yes! It’s a brand new day, filled with endless possibilities. What adventure am I to embark on today? What new thing can I learn? What wise lesson can I teach? Who can I help? Who can I love?’
A brand new day. Endless possibilities.