Feb. 15, 2018

Freedom - Don't Take it for Granted


Freedom cannot be taken for granted. While I am sure all people agree with that statement, I’m not sure everyone holds the statement near and dear to their hearts. I’m not sure we understand the depth of the statement. A recent experience nudged me to embrace it at a much deeper level.

I’ve only known her for about six months. She comes from a country that is now controlled by communism. She shared with me how she came from a very wealthy family in her country of birth. Russia began interacting with and baiting her country’s government officials. Since the country dealt with harsh poverty, they opened the door to “peace” talks. Ever so subtly, the communist regime came in and took over before anyone really knew what hit them.

Her grandparents had everything taken away from them. They were hung in a tree by the arms in their own front yard. Russian military personnel took turns beating them until both man and wife died from extensive injuries.

My friend was able to escape with her parents and brother before the country fell totally into communist hands. Canada accepted them considering they were in grave danger if they remained in their country. She and her parents lived in Canada many years. She has fond memories of her years as Canada’s guests.

Her parents remained in Canada, but my friend and her brother moved into the United States knowing there were greater opportunities. They went through all the necessary legal channels to secure a work visa and began the citizenship process. She shared with me that she doesn’t really think people understand how costly and how long the citizenship process takes. She and her brother did all the right things. Their parents worked three jobs to put her and her brother through college.

My friend eventually married. She shared with me that she and her husband would not allow their children to speak her native tongue. They wanted American children that spoke English. She shared that they still face discrimination every day. Some of us are not so kind to those who look different or speak with an accent. My entire relationship with her was built on her desire to speak English more fluently and to be better understood.

She shared something very revealing with me today. She said she and her brother are scared right now. She explained she is not certain that all Americans understand Russian tactics. She is afraid we are naïve, and she is concerned we do not value our freedom enough to protect our country at all costs.

Her parting words to me were, “I am not certain America really understands how desperately other countries want to be free. I’m not sure they understand the reasons so many want to come here. I hope they understand there are those out there who want to take this freedom away.”

“Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the LORD's will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17