This morning as I pondered on the 4th of July and what it means to me, my mind wandered back to the summer between my plebe and yuk years at West Point. It is advertised as the "Best Summer of Your Life". At first I thought- as do most- that this is because of all the cool things you get to do. Zip-lines, tanks, explosions, shooting. Its like scout camp on steroids!
But this morning I realized that while all these things are great they are not what makes that summer so great. What makes it so great is that you really appreciate the small things in life. You are no longer a plebe which means that you are now treated like a human being. You are free to talk. You are free to walk wherever you want to go. You can even eat without having to first prove that you know "Schofield's definition of discipline" or the exact number of days until every major event for the rest of the year. I remember a time when being able to shower alone was the greatest thing ever. Now I complain if the drain is a little slow. That is the real reason why that summer is so amazing- freedom and the ability to appreciate the small things. (All the fun stuff certainly helps too though.)
As I think back on that time of my life I would love to go back to that summer. I would never want to go through plebe year again, but to have that wonderful, simple view of life would be worth it. That may well have been the best summer of my life.
In 2 Ne 2:27 we learn that these things apply in the spiritual sense too. As miserable as it was to be "locked-up" as a plebe, we often CHOOSE to be "locked-up" spiritually. We are free to choose liberty and freedom through Christ, our Redeemer. All too often, however, we choose to follow a different path. I have seen how this can steal away our freedom little by little. I have seen it in my own life and the lives of many others. We can get this wonderful freedom back through repentance (as Alma explained), but the truth of the matter is that we don't even realize how great our freedom is.
To any who are feeling "locked-up" right now- life just has you stuck, you are trapped, etc.- seek out the freedom that Christ has to offer.
Happy birthday USA!