For anyone that saw that movie Django: Unchained or saw the preview for it, you know that the movie is about slavery. There is a song in the movie called “Freedom” by Anthony Hamilton who I might add is a wonderful singer. Because I am a wee bit obsessed with that movie lately, I burnt it to a CD along with the John Legend song from the movie, “Who Did That to You?” When listening to “Freedom,” though, there are some lyrics that catch my attention:
“I am looking for freedom, looking for freedom
And to find it cost me everything I have”
When I was driving back to State College to start the new semester, I couldn’t help but think to myself what it would have been like to live in the times of slavery. I wonder even more deeply if I would have been someone to stick up for the slaves or if I would have been like the confederates who treated people like literal dirt beneath their boots.
This question actually made me think a lot today, I went to the grocery store in my car, listened to that song and envisioned myself being a white person in the south in the days of slavery. I went to class, listened to that song, and thought about the same thing. My parents have raised me to accept people for who they are and to treat everyone equally. Growing up in a family where my parents really worked for a living has made a great impact on me as a person. Even though I may not always show it, I get really emotional inside when I see sad things out in the world.
The wording may be poorly written for that, but I remember going to the nursing home to see my grandma when she was still living and in rather good health and then seeing those people who weren’t as fortunate to have a good quality of life. I would often leave and get in my car and cry for a little bit not only because it was sad to see my grandma get worse, but also to think about the people there that are drooling, don’t know where they are, and the people that don’t have family to visit them.
Back to slavery, though, think about it…slaves were not treated like humans. They were considered fractions of humans. Think about that. A fraction of a human. As I’m sitting here in 2013, I cannot grasp how someone thought that this was an okay concept for anyone. As I said in yesterday’s post, we are all worthwhile. We are all equal. I think if I were growing in in slavery days I would have been a part of the underground railroad. I probably would have helped slaves escape. I may have even been the manipulative farm hand who gave slaves the out.
At least I would like to think that I would do these things. I wonder what my family would have been like. I wonder what trade we would have worked with. I’m hoping that slave auctioneer would not have been the family trade….in those days I’m sure it wasn’t considered an interesting career as it is today (or that I’d like to think). It’s crazy to think about the history of this planet.
Even though I hate history, I look at the past of where we have been as humans. We’re hateful people. We burned witches, we killed Jewish people, we stoned people, we lynched African Americans, we made people our slaves. I’m thankful to say that this is history, but sadly, it seems to go in patterns, there are definitely still slaves in this world somewhere though it may not be a public thing. Think about scandals that we hear about years later…things that happen for years and never come out to the public.
You may be thinking to yourself, “But Stephanie, you just talked about happiness and how we have to make ourselves happy.” Yes, that is true, and where I’m going with this is that even though there are a bunch of bad people out there, there are also oodles of good people. Where would we be without the Mother Theresas or the Nelson Mandelas?
There are good people out there, they are just sometimes harder to see than others. I’m not going to blog about how you can be a good person, because lord knows I work on that constantly in my daily life, rather, I’d like to take the bible story of the Good Samaritan and reflect. Most Christians I’m sure have heard this story, so I’m just going to cut to the chase. We may not always know how much we are helping someone by being there for them or by doing a simple gesture or task for them. We may think that we have little impact on people, when in reality we could be making a huge impact. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve been told one comment that makes my day. I’m sure the person that said it doesn’t realize it, so I try to make sure that I let people know that I appreciate their kindness.
Whether being free or being trapped, being a good person or a bad person, we are all human. We try our best and sometimes falter, but we can help not only ourselves but others by being a little nicer each day. Compliment one another, mean it, be there for people, mean it, because if you don’t mean it the receiving person is going to know you aren’t genuine. Yet another piece of counseling wisdom. Be genuine in all that you do. Use the freedom that you have wisely.
I’d like to leave with a quote about freedom:
“Freedom is nothing more than a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus