Freedom- I wonder sometimes if we appreciate the magnitude of this privilege.
I remember an English teacher where I work sharing a story of a group of former students that had been refugees. He shared what an honor it was that he was able to facilitate a positive learning experience for them. Perhaps frustrated with the whining of his current students sitting before him over the latest paper coming due, he shared that story of the students who had emigrated to the United States (more honestly escaped to the U.S. on a make shift boat). One afternoon before escaping their country they were lined up and given a book to read. Each student was asked to read from the book. This teacher shared this heart felt story in a quiet tone so you knew that something was clearly amiss. I found myself routing for the students to read the passages well. (wrong again, honey!) After each student was given the opportunity to read, the book was placed on a table and those who could read were shot and murdered instantly. I found myself gasping as I looked for the reaction of the rest of the room.
The reaction of the students was interesting. Some were profoundly affected, some were in disbelief, some continued texting or engaging in another method of distraction.
I felt horrified.
Not only for the students who experienced such horror, but for many of the students before me who would never really understand the enormous sacrifice that is made for them every single day to protect their freedoms, their rights in the United States. Their ability to engage freely in education, their places of worship, or even something as simple as walking to the corner store.
Of course, I was wrong about that too.
Some of those very same students sitting in that room would go on to serve our country. They would join the military and proudly wear the uniform of the brave. They would go from students that wouldn’t recite the pledge of allegiance to those who were prepared to defend the country at all costs.
That cost is EXTREMELY high.
I am grateful for my privileged life.
I am grateful for those who have served.
It is how to those who serve, who are never the same after walking through a conflict. If they are lucky enough to come home, they rarely come home without a broken spirit, physical or maybe emotional challenge. It doesn’t end just there.
EVERYONE who loves them is affected too. Mothers, fathers, siblings, children, friends- ANYONE who loves them is also changed forever.
The show that is currently hanging at Create Art 4 Good is an incredible show- Brian Kennedy is a gifted artist and advocate for his fellow military members. Brian has seen experienced a great deal and has been clearly affected by his service. Yet he gives back.
Brian and Create Art 4 Good teamed up to share a moment of what it is like to be in the military and serve. There is work representing several of the wars that America has been in conflict with. There are letters from loved ones who shared a moment of their experiences. The invitation is there to perhaps help you feel on a different level gratitude for the freedom we all enjoy.
I invite you to experience this show- and participate in the special events.
Tomorrow evening- May 13th at 7 PM Nicole Miller will share with you her mission. Her lecture will highlight the benefits of massage for the military and their loved ones. Massage is a powerful tool that will assist in the healing that is so vital.
Sunday – 5/18 Please come to the Candlelight Service- it begins at 1pm and the intent is to honor all who serve- living or dead. Each candle lit will honor someone -all donations made for candles will go to the Veteran’s Outreach Center.
Friday- May 30th@ 7PM– Brian will be back from his military training and will give a lecture about his work and experiences. There is a $10 suggested donation- that will benefit the Veteran’s Outreach Center.
May 31 from 1-4PM Nicole Miller will give chair massages to military. I cannot think of a better way to end the show. Nicole and many gifted LMTs on the Armed Forces Relaxation Project have served our military with the comfort of a healing massage.
This show is not only about appreciating our freedom, but also walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. I invite you to do so.
I am grateful