Tag: Boston

Discovering the Freedom Trail

Where the Trail Begins
Image from catchthewinds.com

Boston, Massachusetts, city of historic significance, offers a unique perspective on the issue of freedom. Most specifically it speaks to the quest for freedom in the New World.
There is a red brick path that circles for two and one-half miles through the streets of Boston. Strewn along this marked pilgrimage are bronze markers and numerous monuments to the Revolutionary War and our founding fathers. This trek enlightens the seeking soul – or at minimum – educates the enquiring minds who read the words left behind from our forebears.
My husband an I started at the end of the trail. This kept us meeting up with a parade of people who had started their journey  in the Boston Commons.  At least we didn’t get held up by a string of people less motivated to conquer the trail.
The trail ends – thus began for us – at the Bunker Hill monument. How often does a monument mark the site of a battle that was lost? This 221 foot tall obelisk, a shorter version of the Washington Monument, does just that.
It stands atop Breed’s Hill. (I know you’re wondering why it’s the called the Bunker Hill monument – you and millions of other people). This place where revolutionaries lost to troops of superior number and armament holds inspirational value because it proved that the British army wasn’t invincible. After all, it took them three tries and half their men to overrun the fortification.
Freedom has never been free. It demands a ransom paid in blood. Whether the blood of soldiers or the blood of a Savior, freedom’s immense, innate value requires sacrificial lives to acquire.
It would be cheapened if it could be bought with perishable silver or gold.
“If the Son shall make you free; ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
In America, freedom loses its preciousness because the generations that fought to preserve it are passing away. The younger generations despise war and want to barter for freedom some other way.
It can’t be done. Not that anyone should be a warmonger, but as long as men (I mean mankind here; this is not a push for women rulers) rule the world, war will be necessary. Greed for power, wealth or land will drive some men to oppress others and only warfare will release them from these chains.
It may be a warfare fought with marches and protests, speeches from platforms or guns and bombs. People will be called upon to lay down their lives. The price of blood will be paid. Freedom will be won.
Is there another way to teach our children to value freedom so they won’t need to learn its pricelessness through oppression and warfare? When many of them refuse to stand in honor of the flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance, their patriotism wanes.
On The FreedomTrail, I discovered and rediscovered the names and stories of many patriots, valiant men and women, who forged into the bloody unknown so there would be a country called the United Satates of America. They marched against king and country, an oppressive regime, emboldened by the pursuit of life and liberty to birth a nation now represented by thirteen stripes and 50 stars.
How much does freedom mean to you? Are you willing to pay the ultimate price so those children who refuse to honor Old Glory with twenty-two words spoken as they stand, hands over hearts?

Manmade or Natural?

Trinity Church in Boston, MA

Brick and mortar stands alongside glass and iron in downtown Boston, MA. Bridges and tunnels connect the God-made land to the manmade portion upon which 70 percent of Boston proper sits.
Even among all this manmade fanfare, however, the brilliant portions that stand out are those made by the Creator.
Boston Commons, the oldest national park in America, stretches for acres, green and growing, amidst the assortment of streets and buildings.
Trinity Church reflects in the glass sides of a more modern building, towering above all but the Prudential Tower a few blocks away. Even this old beauty is dwarfed by the marshland, Fens Park, sprawling acres that abut the home of the Boston Red Sox.
The green grass and fluttering leaves surround pools of sparkling water. A natural haven offers relief from the heat reflecting off the iron, glass and cement surrounding it like a conquering army.
More greenbelts sift their fingers through the architectural feats of mankind. As we traveled north from the city toward our hotel, strips of trees stood sentinel over the cement and asphalt thoroughfare.
I wondered at these makeshift forests, small compared to forests near my home in Oregon. Why were they left here? Why had the engineers forfeited that coveted ground to a more natural habitat?
To me, the answer is less important than the ideology these waving trees represent: Man needs the natural resources God gave in the form of trees, plants and waterways.
Sure, trees take the carbon we spew into the air and regurgitate life-giving oxygen. I’m talking about something deeper than that.
Studies show that people who spend time among the trees are healthier and happier. Is it the fresh air? Is it the natural Vitamin D acquired through ingesting sunlight?
I believe a simpler answer exists. God created us to commune with him. Nature declares the glory of God. Thus, when we spend time in a natural environment, serenaded by wind whispering through the leaves and birds chirping from the branches, our soul is nourished.
I’m not trying to be heretical and claim that communing with nature is the same as communing with God. I don’t believe God is in nature. However, we need a place of peace to experience true communion with God. That place – which exists within us – can be more easily accessed when we’re surrounded by the sounds of the Creator instead of the noisy fumes man spits out.
What is your favorite manmade structure? Has it ever helped you find a way to deeper spiritual communion with God?

After Graduation

This time of year, people all over America are asking the question, “What happens after graduation?”

Does this middle-aged coed have an original question?

Well, no, but my answer comes more quickly to my lips than what a high school graduate might flippantly toss into conversation. I might even have a more definitive plan than many college graduates.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those who have a job waiting for me on the other side of graduation. Of course, I don’t really want one, either.

I’ve halfheartedly sent out a few resumes and responded to a few jobs that interested me on LinkedIn. My heart screams, “No! I’m going to write.”

My mind cajoles, “It’s a trap! How will you live without a regular paycheck?”

It’s nice that my son’s roommates have jobs waiting for them. They had been interning at this company over the past summer (or two). My son hoped he might be able to find employment there and just continue his comfortable living arrangements after graduation.

No regular jobs are available, but they’re looking for interns.

I wonder if he’s been submitting resumes and cover letters with more enthusiasm than I’m displaying. After all, he really is just starting out. He needs to get a job so he can become completely independent of his parents and be ready to pay back those thousands of dollars he borrowed in student loans.

I have a husband. My husband is an engineer. He makes good money. I have a small amount of debt from my degree, half of which was accrued so I could contribute cash to our youngest son’s education.

What happens after graduation?

I’m getting on a plane and flying to Boston, MA. After a few days there, I board a transatlantic flight to Amsterdam and then Munich. While my husband works, I will soak in the German culture. I plan to see a few museums, gardens and castles.

When I get back to the United States, I’m going to go to a friend’s wedding. The day after that, my friends and family will celebrate the multi-graduation occasions at a barbecue.

Two weeks after that, I will co-host a large garage sale with my sister. Hopefully, my house will be garnering much attention from interested buyers. If that’s the case, it may not be many weeks after the sale that I’ll be packing up my house and moving.

Amidst all of this, I will finish my WIP. I will edit the manuscript and get a copy ready for the classroom of beta readers I’ve been promised at the middle school where I will no longer work.

What are your plans for after graduation? Or perhaps you just have summer plans you’d like to share. I love hearing from my readers.