An Arab chief tells a story of a spy who was captured and then sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army.  This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and the big, black door.  As the moment for execution drew near, the spy was brought to the Persian general, who asked the question, “What will it be:  the firing squad or the big, black door?”

The spy hesitated for a long time.  It was a difficult decision.  He chose the firing squad.

Moments later shots rang out confirming his execution.  The general turned to his aide and said, “They always prefer the known way to the unknown.  It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined.  Yet, we gave him a choice.”

The aide said, “What lies beyond the big door?”`

“Freedom,” replied the general.  “I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it.”

(Don McCullough, “Reasons to Fear Easter”)

Recognize that freedom is ours NOW ~ no need to wait to claim it.   We simply need to align ourselves with what is good, true, harmful to none and respectful to all.  We can choose freedom or choose to be slaves to our own habits and the desires of others for us.  Freedom allows us to elevate ourselves and others to function at a higher level.

Most of us have been raised in a very unempowered way. “Shut up and listen.” “Do what you’re told.” “A child should be seen and not heard.” “Toe the line.” “Work hard and you’ll get your reward when you retire (or when you get to heaven).” We’ve been told to put up and shut up. However, that attitude only serves those who want to control us and control our world for their own personal gain.

It is time for us to wake up to the reality of the world around us. This is the world we have created either through our actions or our inactions. It is time for us to stand up and be counted. It is time for us to make a difference. You can do that by joining (or forming) community and global organizations that are choosing to make a difference. If you can’t give of your time, then give of your money. If you can’t give of your money, then give of your time. Make your actions count. Every minute and/or every dollar you can give truly does make a difference to someone somewhere!   Assert your freedom to choose the best way for you to contribute to making a difference in your life and in the world.

Last week brought a political caucus day to those of us in the United States. I hope you chose to make a difference by casting your ballot ~ by exercising your freedom to choose. I was both disappointed and proud while attending my local caucus:  disappointed that there were so few participants from my heavily populated District and proud that there were people who chose to take the time to become involved!  Even though this “off” year is not one in which we will be choosing a new U.S. President, we will be choosing mayors for our cities, governors for our states, state senators and representatives ~ all of whom have the opportunity to influence our freedom.  Oh, I know, we’ve all been programmed subliminally to think our vote won’t count… but if there were 20,000 of us who didn’t think our vote would count and we still went out to vote, then that’s 20,000 votes that made a difference.

Freedom of Choice:  Choose the world you want to live in. Choose the people you want around you to help you create that world. Choose according to your conscience — according to your higher self — according to your highest vision for life on the earth you inhabit. We are the ones who can make a difference. Do you want to look back in 20 years and regret what you might have done?

You are the heir of the ages.  Men reaching for the stars have created for you a world of wonder and challenge …  You encompass the ideals of the ragged soldiers of Valley Forge, the gallant Pilgrims, the daring explorers and pioneers of earth and space, the fighters for freedom through all history.  They have all contributed to your freedom to choose.

Let’s bring this a little closer to home ~ your mother, father, teachers, clergyman and friends have built their influences into your very essence, into your personality. Man has achieved many material symbols in skyscrapers, bridges, cathedrals and but even more enduring are the invisible monuments of wisdom, inspiration and example planted in the hearts and minds of individuals, children and adults!.  Consider a special person in your life or consider someone like Mentor Graham whose influence lives forever through his student, Abraham Lincoln.  Did either of them have even the slightest clue of the seeds of greatness they planted in a fertile mind?

Now take a deep breath and realize the impact of your freedom of choice:  Your example, your words, your ideas, your ideals will be projected into the future and will live forever in the lives of others,  some you know and some you will never know!  As you help people grow, as you work for peace, understanding and good will, as you work diligently in your quest for freedom, your influence will merge with the good influences of all people, enabling freedom to become a reality for the masses. Your life will live on in others, bigger, finer, and nobler, than you ever dared think possible..

Only humans has been given the power of conscious choice. This privilege carries with it a certain responsibility:  You must make your own choices.  Your very happiness depends on it.  You are a unique individual.  Your needs ~ spiritual, mental, and physical, are known only to you.  To allow another to steal your freedom and make your choices can certainly be disastrous.

Please start now to exercise your freedom of choice even if you make mistakes (and you will). Do not let fear rule you.  Let your vision of hope and of a greater possibility for life guide you.  Let your dreams drive you.  Let your vision of “possibilities” guide you.  It takes courage to exercise freedom.  It takes courage to choose that big black door!   Utilize your freedom to make your choices now and every single moment of the day. You will feel more and more empowered as your sense of freedom expands.

If we don’t make the choices that are ours to make, others will make those choices for us. Let’s take our power back and create the life we want for ourselves, for our children, and for our children’s children. It’s up to you, it’s up to me, individually and collectively to choose the path we want to walk, the seeds of freedom we want to plant for the future.


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