Today I met a young mom whose story unfolded with a simple question “Where are you from?” She said she had grown up in America but left Vietnam with her parents and five siblings when she was a toddler. I asked her why they left and without hesitation she answered with one word: “Freedom”
Her father had secretly built a boat and in the middle of the night her family and several others escaped Communism and fled to Malaysia to a refugee camp. They lived there for a year until they were allowed to come to the U.S. as citizens.
Before fleeing Viet Nam, they were told that at least one person would be the sacrifice for their decision – that one person would likely die on the boat due to some form of illness with no access to medical care at sea. That one person was her 6 year old brother.
I was struck with this personal story and the deep wound that marks this sweet Christian family. When it comes to freedom, this is, more often than not, the story behind the story. This family in their own lives “declared their independence” the minute their boat severed the dark shore.
I’ve woken up every morning of my life and have never given one thought as to how my family was going to escape our reality as we know it. I simply can’t imagine. Home has always been sweet home. Where my heart is. And, as it should be.
The fact that I have not had to suffer personally for my freedom is a sacred gift that has been handed to me by others who have suffered in my place. The Revolutionary War is a distant story, but from its’ grief and loss I have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness today.
Freedom is a gift – but usually given by someone who has paid a deep price. I was bought with a price when Christ gave His life for me. I accept His gift of eternal life and celebrate every day the forgiveness He has given.
Yes, freedom has come to me on many levels. From the heart of my sweet home, I am thankful this Independence Day. And from the heart of every story behind the story, let freedom ring.