“Poppy, what is freedom?” I asked.
“Now that is an excellent question, Coon honey!” I could see that I had almost managed to make my dear Poppy speechless and although I did try often to come up with some real crazy questions to get such a response from him, this question was one I was truly interested in.
“First you tell me what YOU think freedom is and then I’ll tell you what I think” typical Poppy! Always tossing the ball back in MY court!
Since I had been thinking about this for at least a week and I had a feeling he would do this; I was prepared “I think freedom is tricky. First Jesus said that the truth would set you free. Yet many who believe in him hold to some very strict rules for themselves, like not stealing, or murdering people…so freedom must not mean being free from all rules. Second it must be very precious because so many are willing to die for it. Third, I don’t think anyone could really steal it from another but they could make them think they have stolen it. And lastly, I think that freedom must come from your heart or at least start there because everyone knows that really important stuff and really good stuff comes from the heart.”
I looked at Poppy not quite knowing what he would say and I think there was a tear in his eye.
“Coon hon. You sure are growing up fast,” he paused; took a deep breath, wrapped his arm around me and we began to walk . ”Yes, Freedom is when one is able and willing to do the right thing, the honorable thing, that which glorifies God for all the right and honorable reasons. And you are right, no one can really steal it from another because it does first rest in ones heart. It is knowing that while we can do many things, we know those that we should do and should not do. I’ve seen those who were freer in the foxholes of Vietnam than those multi-millionaires living in their mansions behind locked gates. See having a lot of things doesn’t make you free; heck even being super smart doesn’t make you free. It doesn’t have to do with things, it deals with thoughts and abilities. Not money and so called power. It also means that one doesn’t let someone boss them around and tell them to do things that they know are wrong. It deals with making decisions that are made only after the consequences are carefully thought out and how they will affect not only the decision maker but also those around him or her.”
We were quiet for a few moments as we walked into the woods along the path that would take us to our fishing hole, but I had a feeling he wasn’t done yet. I was right.
“You could think about it this way: freedom means we can make the choices, but we also bear the responsibility of those choices and we always consider how God would want us to decide. And everyone has the right to make their own decisions.”
“But what happens if someone decides to do bad things and hurt others?”
“Well, that is when freedom is most important because if someone is taking another’s freedom away, they lose their freedom.”
“Kinda like: if you abuse it, you lose it?”