Thursday, July 1, 2010

Give Me Liberty: Column 1

Oh dear! It looks like another month has slipped by, and once again, I haven't been on top of things - not around here anyway.
But I do have some exciting news. Recently I've been able to contribute some articles to my local newspaper, the Gainesville Daily Register.
From time to time I will post my newspaper columns here on Freedom to Speak. The title of my column in the Register is "Give Me Liberty", so whenever you see that in the blog title, you'll know it's another column from the paper.
My first article was published June 11. Here it is. Enjoy!

“Liberty!” my mother called. Calling goodbye over my shoulder, I scurried through trees that had become the bases in the neighbors’ baseball diamond. Along the way I spotted a toad eyeing me through the short blades of freshly mowed grass. Gently I scooped him up and stroked the soft, white belly before letting him escape into the flower bed.

“Wash your feet,” Mom said as I scampered through the door, my toes shod with a play day’s worth of earth. I scrubbed my feet quickly as I could, slid into my seat at the table, and drank in the aroma of the homemade hamburgers that awaited my growling stomach.
As a ten year old, there is nothing more thrilling than the beginning of summer break. It feels as if you’ve got a lifetime of freedom ahead of you. Your whole world becomes wrapped up in swimming, snow cones, sleeping in, and playing in the dark. When the school bell does finally ring again, you’ve nearly forgotten the old routine completely.
As a very little girl, I remember anticipating summer break with a foggy recollection. It had been so long since the last summer, I couldn’t remember exactly how things worked.
“Does Daddy get off work for the summer? Is Sunday School out for the summer?”
I miss my early childhood. I miss the days of backyard baseball, toad hunting, mud fights; when today is your whole life; right now is all you’ve ever known.
As a sixteen-year-old preparing to embark on my senior year of high school, summer has quite a different look.
Instead of a long, indefinite stretch of sunshine ahead of me, there is a short road. The end is clearly in sight, and the stop sign is fast approaching.
Rather than weeks and weeks of nothingness to fill up, nearly every block of the calendar is full, and I’m setting up armed guards around the few days that remain empty.
One good thing about the return of the school year is the joyous reunion between friends who have been separated all summer. Well, right now I’m still trying to recover from many of my friends’ high school graduations, and reconcile myself to the fact that when fall comes, we won’t be reunited, but separated as they pack up and head to college.
Oh, and that part about no school? Nice fantasy. There is ever so much studying to do before fall gets here, with all its SATs, ACTs, and college applications!
Are the carefree days of childhood summer lost forever? With another year of high school, four years of college, and my whole life ahead of me, I can’t see how life will ever return to the way it was when I was ten.
Well, it can’t. Yesterday is gone. It was fun while it lasted, but today is today.
However, just because yesterday is gone, yesterday’s lifestyle doesn’t have to be.
When I was a young kid with all of summer break ahead of me, I didn’t worry about the next school year, what my grades would be, and whether or not I would pass my first test. I woke up every morning enthusiastic and exhilarated, anxious to see what adventures the day would hold.
By now, I’ve learned a little more about preparation. I can’t ignore the fact that I will have to take tests and start applying to colleges in a few months, which calls for a good amount of studying throughout the summer. But I can embrace every task with the fresh outlook of my ten-year-old self. Instead of facing my summer duties with dread and chagrin, I’ll tackle each one as an adventure to overcome!
I like to pray that as I grow, I’ll gain the wisdom that comes with my years, but retain the innocence that I held as a child – including the rapture found in every single day, no matter what challenges lay ahead.
Whether you’re a lucky duck with a blank calendar ahead of you, or a busy bee like me with so much to do your head won’t stop spinning, remember what it was like to be a kid who found delight in living each moment to the fullest. Prepare for the future, but remember to stop and embrace each adventure as it comes.

1 comment:

~Abby~ said...

Thank you for posting this Liberty!
This is exactly how I'm feeling right now! I wish I was still younger, and summer seemed like forever. Now time is flying by, and I wish it wasn't. Things seemed so much simpler as a kid. But, I always wanted to be older as a kid. I wanted to be a 15 year old in high school, ready to be treated like a mature adult. But now, I do like being older, I just wish it all wouldn't go so fast. Sigh.