The 4th of July is a time to celebrate America’s history and the freedom that we enjoy. That freedom has not come without a price. Millions have lost their lives defending the very concept of freedom. But with freedom comes great responsibility. And quite often, we fail in protecting our most basic beliefs that all men (people) are created equal. Our culture is full of examples where we have abused the very ideals that set us free.
What is common about freedom in almost every sense of the word is the spirit of hope that drives a person to want to be free. Robert F. Kennedy said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope...build(ing) a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Entire movements begin by a simple act of kindness or an individual’s desire to help others. Regardless of how they start, people follow them because they are inspired to do something that matters.
We are all given the power to create ripples of hope. It starts with an idea and then it spreads. A spark that burns brightly and becomes a compass for all those who follow it. The idea becomes so infectious that people are willing to sacrifice everything to see it through.
Hope can also set you free from fear and living a life as a victim. Every person in this world has challenges, everyone. It is what you do as a result that determines your true meaning and place in this world. Typically, this type of hope is based on choice and the power of belief; the strength of conviction to a dream or a cause that can help one or even millions.
Hope is prevalent in much of what we as a people do every day. Parents of children with disabilities are excellent examples of the ability to make a choice. We are confronted with many situations that seem like they are born from a bad dream. Our character and endurance are constantly tested. The lows are incredibly low and the highs are breathtaking. The hardships we weather expose us to a life we never would have known existed. I believe that we have the choice to use these experiences to make the world better. It is only fear that keeps us from using what we have learned to help others. Let hope be your guiding light and nothing will hold you back.
So on this 4th of July, I ask you to consider what freedom means in your own life. Are you bound by sorrow and fear of what has occurred or what the future holds? Or are you determined to use what you have learned through trial and tribulation to create change and leave your mark. It is through hope that the path to freedom becomes reality. Believe in hope, and it will set you free.