By Doris Schroeder
Since I started thinking when I was three years and four months old, I have enjoyed learning new truths and facts about living life in America. Although I couldn’t put it into words at that early age, I always felt that I had the freedom to learn new things, to explore new situations and come to my own conclusions about things that happened in my life. And, to say the least, there were many!
Until my sister died in ‘36, I was always well chaperoned. My sister taught me well and always explained the facts of living to me…why we should come when our mom called us, don’t let the neighbor boys see you are scared…act unafraid, there might be Shirley Temple dolls in heaven, and it is important to think for yourself. After she was accidentally killed, that is what kept me going. I decided for myself to try to obey my parents.
They gave me the freedom to explore life and I found out it is important to think things through. When I watched the 4th of July parade in ‘37, I felt proud of my country when I saw the flag go by. That same year we enjoyed a 4th of July evening at my Grandparents house located on Buhler’s Main Street. I was introduced to the “Sparkler” and conquered my fear of it, so my cousin Dickie Winter wouldn’t tease me about being afraid. Later that evening, when we made home-made ice cream, I can remember seeing the silhouette of my Grandfather Lange against the night sky and thinking how happy I was to be an American. Although I didn’t understand all the facts, I did know that both of my grandparents had come to America at great personal risk and I appreciated what they gave up for this thing called freedom, whatever that was.
Life was pretty safe at that time and my parents gave me the liberty to visit the neighbors. They were all very kind to me and let me observe their everyday living.
It was when we lived on the farm a few years that I really learned to know God. We had no electricity so we made up our own entertainment. There was an old record player that you had to wind up to make it work. There was one record that we played many times to the plays I made up with my neighbor girl or one of my cousins. The record was “Blest be the tie that binds.” Consequently those words were cemented in my heart.
When we moved to California for a time in between, I told my cousins and classmates about the wonderful world of Kansas and they all wished they could move here.
Then we moved back to the farm. When I drove the old John Deere tractor for my Dad during the wheat harvest or shocking oats times, I had lots of time to think about the God who created me. I called on him many times when a snake would slither along the pasture grass when I got in the cows. I could finally give myself entirely to his concepts and found out “freedom” is really letting go and letting God make my decisions. I accepted Jesus, the son of the God of the Universe, into my life.
As I continued to grow up, I realized that it was because our country had adopted this thing called “capitalism” that we could live our lives according to what God revealed to us without fear of prosecution. I knew I would never want to live in a country ruled by a dictator where the government made all the important decisions of your life. I knew that America had the type of government that was ordained of God. Since I was part of his family, I could let him lead me the way He wanted me to go. It really worked and as my husband and I raised our own family of a boy and a girl, we knew that “little is much when God is in it!”
And so, as we are reaching into 2014, halfway to the next year, what is happening? Are we still living by the concepts our country was founded on in 1776, where we lived by what the Bible had taught us, or have we given way to a selfish endeavor of making more and more riches, regardless of the cost? Do we, as a country, know where we are really going, and is that where we actually want to go?
As we celebrate Independence Day this Friday, are we truly doing what God ordained us to do and are we really happy? If not, what can we do about it?
The answer is found in the Holy Bible and it is the only book that has stood the test of time! It gives us the answer to the ultimate freedom!
Doris appreciates your comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org