Friday, February 04, 2005

The Price

Amy is in the hospital again.

We don't expect this to be a drawn out thing, but she had some distressing symptoms (I won't elaborate) this morning, on top of a lack of sleep and the general nervousness one might expect from someone who spent nearly four months in the hospital last year. A call to the doctor resulted in another direct admit to the hospital. She's undergoing some tests and will probably be in at least through tomorrow. I'm hoping she won't spend the entire weekend there, but we'll deal with whatever comes up.

A few minutes ago she called to wake me up, as ordered, and told me she was being prepped for one of the primary tests. Then she told me to go back to sleep for an hour or so before driving up to spend time with her tonight in those all too familiar surroundings.

Her suggestion I go back to sleep is not possible; once I'm awake I'm usually up for the duration. That's the price I pay for a wacky schedule.

I've been thinking about the price we pay for a lot of things lately. Partially that's due to the fact that I'm confronted by our bank balance each time I sit down at the computer, however a larger reason is because one topic has been on my mind a lot this week: freedom.

Watching the people of Iraq go to vote and defy the threats against them, to see some walk miles to the polls...that has been awe inspiring. Knowing that many Iraqis died at the hands of terrorists this week because they chose to vote and recognizing that, their neighbors still lined up to cast ballots undeterred by the violence...that has been almost impossible for me to comprehend.

To top it off there have been those pictures. It has been humbling to see pictures of men and women whose hands were marked with ink proving they voted and who proudly displayed those ink stained fingers to celebrate the voting process. They knew those celebrations put them in further danger, but they risked it gladly because they knew they have won something of which they have too long been deprived - freedom.

I couldn't help but remember how many times Amy and I have blown off voting because the lines were too long or we "didn't really care" about an issue, or it was too nice a day to "waste" 10 minutes...or worse yet that "our vote didn't count."

I am embarrassed.

We should wave our freedoms aloft - high above our heads - treating them like treasures and letting them glisten in the glory of the dazzling light from the sun. We should simultaneously cherish them - hold them close to our hearts at all times - to make certain they come to no harm.

Instead too often we ignore them.

And we forget.

We forget the very men and women who won those freedoms for us.

We forget the price they paid.

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!"

That quote is rather famous. Almost every American knows who said it, except most don't realize they know it.

It's the next line - the end of the quote - that is etched into our memories...

"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry

It's been a long time since we Americans fought for our freedoms. We're more apt to fight over who gets possession of the remote control.

"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose..." - Kris Kristofferson

That was a fun song once, though to me today the lyrics ring very hollow.

Freedom is much more than another word.

It's a way of life that almost always comes to us at a high and mournful price...blood.

Yet we forget.

Even Christians forget despite being reminded so very very often.

Last Sunday I stood around a wooden table with fellow members of my church. We shared small portions of bread and juice and said these exact words, "This is the body of Christ broken for you. This is the blood of Christ poured out for you."

Christ bought our freedom - freedom from sin.

And He purchased it with His blood.