Vision: How Free You Be? by Howard Hanger

July 3, 2019 |

Is freedom just another word for nothing left to lose?
Is freedom a beacon shining in the dark?
Is freedom what you get when you’re e…man…cipated?
Or is freedom only found in the… mind and heart?

You can always ask the question, “Are we ever truly free?”
Is freedom an always-worthy goal?
It could easily be argued that we’re each and all enslaved
Unless we feel that freedom in our soul.

For MLK’s freedom, they shot him down.
For Jesus Christ, they nailed him up.
Could it be that in some way, we’re scared of freedom?
Afraid to drink from that Holy Cup?

True freedom would mean no holds barred.
True freedom … is rules be damned.
But might that kind of freedom ever really work for all?
Things might get quickly out of hand.

Maybe we don’t really want that full-on frontal freedom
Maybe we want rules and boundaries set.
But still we have a deep desire for that sense of being free.
To be fully us, not just our silhouette.

Perhaps the freest freedom is in our minds and hearts
To dream, to fantasize, and to imagine.
And from that exquisite freedom we may learn to live our lives
With wonder and with purpose and with passion.

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks got on a bus and broke the rules. When the bus driver told her she had to move to the “colored section” of the bus, she said, “No,” and was then arrested for civil disobedience by violating one of Alabama’s segregation laws. According to the law in that day, Rosa Parks, nor any other African-American, was free to sit in the so-called “white” section of the bus. But Rosa Parks was free to do it. And she did.

Could it be that true freedom is not predicated on governmental edicts or legal statutes or religious dogma or even traditional mores and morals? Could it be that there is a freedom of the heart and mind that sometimes comes into conflict with rules and regulations? Rosa Parks would say so. And thanks to her acknowledgement of and acting upon that inner freedom, anyone of any color can now sit on any bus in any seat.

Of course there are many laws and regulations which keep us safe and enhance life for everyone. But Rosa Parks and thousands who followed in her steps have reminded us that there is a deeper freedom… a richer independence… a far more vast and fertile ground for self-determination – there is a freedom written into the fabric of life which declares that all deserve to be free.