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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Freedom Isn't Free

Gentlemen, a Good Passover.

I realize I've been posting a bit more on my original site, New Day A-Dawning, but I haven't forgotten you!

Today is the first day of Passover -- the celebration of freedom from slavery!  I already touched on this theme in my last post, when I exhorted my readers not to allow themselves to become slaves.  But that's not the end of the story.

One of my close relatives is a major American history buff.  She likes to remind us all that July 4th is an important holiday because it was the day the United States declared its independence from Britain, but that September 17th is an even more important holiday.  For those of us not aware, that was the date in 1787 that the United States Constitution was ratified.

However, it's just a lot easier to rest on past laurels and focus on the fact that freedom was achieved, than it is to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and start writing new laws for ourselves.  That's the major obstacle the freed ex-slaves had to contend with before they finally got to Sinai.  Because they had been slaves so long, they had gotten used to not thinking for themselves, not making decisions, and not asking questions.  The only thing they were used to doing was complaining about how bad things were.  They may have expected a care-free, work-free life once they crossed the Red Sea, and when that was not made available to them, they just pointed fingers as they'd always done before.

Don't get me wrong, this blog is specifically devoted to helping men and boys with low self-esteem get better and live happier lives.  I'm not trying to be another taskmaster.  However, one good way to grow self-esteem, besides eliminating those who don't care about you and don't wish you well, is to work at becoming your own person.  That means you think, you ask, you build, you create, you act, and you move.  Will this suck sometimes?  No doubt.  Anyone who says work is comfortable mistakenly thinks he's working when he's really not!  But this kind of work is not slavery because it's your own work.  It's the work you need to do, and should want to do if you really want to be somebody!  Complaining about the fact that it needs to be done will just hold you back like all those ex-slaves who complained about Moses' lack of leadership skills instead of developing their own!

And guess who's learned that the hard way?  Yours truly.  For most of my childhood and adolescence, I was held back by the same passive, lazy, complaining thoughts as many of the ex-slaves.  Much of my brain matter was wasted on hating, despising, envying, and yes, complaining about those who made my life difficult.  If it wasn't some authority figure giving me a lecture, it was some misbehaving peer who once again, did me wrong and got away with it.  All I did was get angry, lose control, and demand why it was that they weren't suffering the punishments or consequences that I felt I was facing.

I knew I didn't want to just "let it go," and allow these forces to get away with the wrongs they were committing, but I had NO EARTHLY CLUE how to fix any of it myself!  I didn't know that I could have dealt with the annoying teacher/parent/lunch lady talking down to me by (a) just accepting what the rules were; (b) not holding grudges; and (c) trying to find ways to avoid them or outsmart them (they weren't omnipotent by any means, it could have been done).  I also didn't know that if I had kept my cool and held it together when the mini-gangsters of yore were present, I could have either (a) found ways to tell them off to their faces, knowing full well that nothing they could do to me would have killed me; (b) made them look stupid (which also could have been done); or (c) had them turned over to the proper authorities without looking like a (sn)itch.  Unfortunately, my reactions did not allow me to stay calm and focused, and I paid heavy prices for that.

If I wanted to take the easy way out, I could have argued that nobody taught me how to do this, as another complaining slave.  Not only would that have been a cop-out, it would not have even been true!  The proper authorities may not have taught me how to do this on a blackboard in a classroom, but there actually were a few friends who did try to teach me this by example.  Instead of learning from them, I blew them off, simply because they were not the proper authorities.  I think this is one out of several reasons why I either (a) never spoke to them again, or (b) let several decades pass before reconnecting with them.

That's my past, and it can't be changed.  But for some of you ex-slaves out there, time still remains.  Free yourself from complaints.  Don't just relish the fact that tyranny can be overthrown, be your own ruler afterwards!  Build your own Tabernacle, pick your own friends, earn your own money, buy your own clothes, live where you like (without breaking the bank), and be your own man . . .  please!

Those who like this, please keep reading.  And don't be afraid to comment either -- I know people are reading this blog in the US, Canada, Russia, France, Japan, and other countries, maybe I've written something that got your attention?  Say something -- you might be surprised how I respond!