I go to the mountain side of the house to cut saplings, and clear a view to snow on the mountain. But when I look up, saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in the uppermost branches. I don’t cut that one. I don’t cut the others either. Suddenly, in every tree, an unseen nest where a mountain would be. ~Tess Gallagher “Choices”
such recognition of the other,
to save the nest
and all future potential nests
rather than a clear cut stripping
for the sake of unimpeded world view,
when the freedom of a mountain backdrop
when the right to choose can only mean
choosing to do right.
“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.” –
–Thomas Jefferson, in “A Summary View of the Rights of British America” “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice can not sleep forever… ― Thomas Jefferson, in Notes on the State of Virginia on the need for abolition of slavery
Would Thomas Jefferson, architect of our Declaration of Independence celebrated on July 4, be trembling for his country today? I believe he would, even considering his views were radical in his day, his religious convictions unconventional, and his plantation managed by slaves of African descent. He personally understood the moral quicksand on which he stood so tenuously–the conflict he felt was as close as home. He would recognize and mourn our abuse of our liberties secured and maintained through the blood of our forefathers, our brothers, sisters and children.
Today we are sinking deeply in that same quicksand, having done no better than Jefferson at forging a personal and moral foundation on which to firmly stand. We have squandered our autonomy with selfishness rather than selflessness borne out of gratitude for the gift of freedom. We want to secure and protect what is ours before we worry in humility if others have what they need first. We trample daily on others’ rights in the name of self-determination and freedom of choice, especially destroying the defenseless for imperfect genetics, wrong gender or simply being ill-timed.
History as recorded in the Word and elsewhere shows when everyone does as they see fit, there is no immunity from judgment and wrath:
In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
And how well did that work out for us?
It took a true servant King who sacrificed Himself to save us from destroying ourselves.
He is still trying and still waiting for our response.
Let us remember with conviction today the source of our life and liberty; His justice does not sleep.