I have some very strong feelings about the responsibility we all have as citizens of a free nation.I think it sometimes takes an experience where freedoms are limited to fully appreciate what our freedom blesses us with. I had such an experience when we adopted our children from Russia. The moment we landed in Russia – it became clear that our freedoms were not the same. Being escorted off of our airplane by armed men in military uniforms and locked in a room at the “airport” on one leg of our journey while our plane was being prepared for further travel quickly taught me to appreciate the freedoms of my native country. I had once thought service men returning home and kissing the ground as they stepped on U.S. soil a little strange. Yet, as we returned home from Russia and set foot on U.S. soil once again – I fervently desired to do the very same thing. I will never take my freedom or the American flag for granted ever again. Our freedom to shape government, our lives, and to worship according to the dictates of our conscience is not something we should take for granted. We each have a responsibility to our families, communities, and our country to use our personal freedoms in positive, uplifting ways. When we use our freedom simply for self-gratification – we are not using our freedom well or wisely. We should never take our freedom for granted and we need to recognize that many individuals and families have made great sacrifices and many have died so that we might enjoy our freedom. For me, that means freedom brings with it certain inherent responsibilities. Freedom is not a free ride at the expense of others – it is an invitation for everyone to do his or her part so that each of us collectively and individually can pursue the dream of bettering our lives, our families, and our country.
As a person who loves to be enveloped by silence on a frequent basis – I am often surprised by how uncomfortable many individuals are with being alone with themselves. Often, they turn to radio and TV for noise (apparently to drown out the silence in their lives). I find that somewhat sad. There is so much to be learned by listening to our inner selves. As William Wordsworth so profoundly said, we truly do come to earth “Trailing Clouds of Glory”. There is much to be learned by listening to those profound messages that come to us as we open up and listen to our hearts. I have found that those messages instruct, inspire, comfort and strengthen me. For me, that is an invaluable blessing.
I don’t know if being a NDE’r (Near Death experiencer) is akin to being a reformed alcoholic but I suspect it is. I would like to think that I valued and cherished life prior to my near death experience but in my heart of hearts I know that I never valued my life then the way that I do now. The crazy thing is how it grinds on me to see so many unhappy people who could be so much happier, so much more content and just so much more if they could just realize how precious this life and what they do with it is. This life is not about getting, getting, getting and getting more. It is about learning, giving, growing, loving, and becoming. There are times I want to jump up on my “soap box” and shout “Come on People – We have been given a priceless privilege here! We have been given a precious life and incredible potential and whatever you do – don’t waste it! God loves you and He knows you and He will help you through both the good and the bad!” Of course, I’m wise enough not to do that (at least not yet). The point is – What really Matters are those things that God has given us and that Life will not take away.
If there is one thing I have learned as a result of life experiences and my near death experience – it is that God’s plan for us and our lives is not and never has been random. I don’t know what science will yet prove about the heart but I know that our Center (heart) is more than just a functioning organ. I don’t even know if our Center and heart are the same thing. What I do know is that we each have a Center and that it is the conduit to guidance from God and from our spirits. My Center is my irreplaceable and priceless gift that instructs me and guides me in accomplishing my personal life mission. It helps me identify my innate passions and gifts that I have brought with me from my pre-birth life and it helps me to understand how to meaningfully use those passions and gifts. This life is not just about you or about me – it is about us. It is about taking what we came equipped with and then adding that incredible potential that only God can gift us with and becoming our ultimate self. Our journey will not demand any material cost but it will demand our hearts and the best we have to give. A small price for such a glorious gift!