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Saturday, April 14, 2012

An Aspiration of Freedom

  • inspired by the song "Is there life out there" by Reba McEntire 

The trials and tribulations of life occupied him from a very young age.  As a youth, barely in junior high school, he took on unwarranted responsibilities.  While still in grammar school, his parents were divorced.  This left his household plagued by financial problems unthought-of before that point.  His mother fell ill while he was still in junior high school, leaving him in charge of the household responsibilities.  His sister, while still in high school, had a child herself.  These circumstances left him without the recourse of enjoying the youthful exploits pursued by his friends.

Recalling a memory from a young age, his mother opened up her checkbook.  He saw the mortgage; it was about $850 and due in less than a week.  The account balance in her checkbook was barely $25.  This was his first concept of money and it ushered him into his role as man of the house.

His duties while in high school included preparing meals for his family and looking over his young nephew.  All the time, he kept in front of him the dream of leaving home and heading off to college.  In college he would have his first opportunity to taste true freedom. 

He studied diligently and made his way through high school as an honors student.  He knew that the hard-work would be rewarded and it would liberate him from a life of poverty. 

Throughout high school he did not bother with the parties and the frivolity in which his friends reveled.  He did not go to the homecoming dance our date one of the many beautiful girls that he knew at his high school. Instead, he came home from school every day and was consumed with the chores of running the household as well as with many hours of studying.  Late in his high school years, he found work delivering newspapers in the middle of the night to keep his family fed.  It was a hard life, but the whole time he dreamt  of the rewards that would come from the hard work.

He visualized college as a chance to live life on his own terms.  He would be far away from home and he would be free to engage in the social activities that were left wanting while in high school.  He chose a college while he was still in his sophomore year in high school.  He worked hard and received a scholarship to The University of Colorado at Boulder.  The social climate and friends he would find there would offer him liberation to pursue an entire host activities which were never before available. 

After four years of high school he stood, on the cusp of graduation and surrounded by the friends that he had never gotten the chance to know as well as he had wanted.  They gathered in the suburbs of Stamford, Connecticut in a park to celebrate.  It was early Summer and the weather suited the occasion.

“I would like to say,” Jonathan began in his high school graduation speech, “that although my years here with you have been very meaningful to me, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that, upon graduation, our lives are only about to begin.  Many of you I have known since I was a young child and many of you I have just gotten to know in the succeeding years.  However, as we embark on the journey of our lives I hope the best memories of our years of high school will stay with us.”

The crowd at the high school graduation fixated on his austere manner that was beyond his years.  Some of the gathering had difficulty not letting the emotions overtake them. 

“During these four years,” he continued.  “Let us all remember all the good times and good friends that we have made and let us remember to not forget them as we continue with our lives.   I wish for you all the best in your life and I wish I could share it with every one of you.”

Upon finishing his speech, the ceremony continued.  They stood in line, and, one by one they received their diploma, cap, and gown.  The festivities were nearing an end.   Jonathan looked out into the crowd and saw tears in his mother’s eyes.  At the end the celebration, the graduating seniors threw their caps into the air in unison to mark the end of the pivotal event that was to initiate the rest of their lives. 

With his graduation, Jonathan’s dreams of independence and freedom would now begin.

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