Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Feeling Freebird Freedom May 3, 2013

Sometimes I wonder about this phrase I’ve heard people say that it isn’t too good to be true, it’s too good to be free. It seems a bit obvious to me as I understand that we generally get what we pay for both literally and figuratively speaking. But the more I thought about it, I can’t say I appreciate the negative connotation in either piece of commentary.

I will admit: even the optimist in me sometimes contemplates the impossible. The glass half empty, if you will. Then I remember the words scrawled on a banner above the band that played “Freebird” at the funeral of Mitch Baylor in Elizabethtown: If it wasn’t this, it would be something else.

I would bet the average person’s mind would flip toward the negative when they think about that phrase, as well as the earlier thoughts on the reality of the cost of things. But what if we challenged our brains to see even the negative implications of these words on through the lenses of a more positive outlook?

Freedom itself certainly isn’t cheap. I thank my lucky stars for living in a country where we are blessed by the heroes of our past who have fought to protect the freedom of all of the people in my life. A lot of animals know a thing or two about what life looks like without freedom and let me tell you: I’d take this life over that one any day. In respect to freedom, we sure have gotten what was paid for it, especially in our freedom to express our thoughts, beliefs and values.

It’s no secret that I am a lover of music and today as I have gratitude for all that isn’t free in life, I find myself turning to the classic rock anthem “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The song makes a meaningful appearance in a favorite movie of mine “Elizabethtown,” as a ballroom of people celebrate the life of the recently deceased father figure Mitch Baylor.

“If I leave here tomorrow Would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on, now, ‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see. But, if I stayed here with you, girl, Things just couldn’t be the same,” the band roars. “I’m as free as a bird now, And this bird you can not change. Oh… oh… oh… oh… oh… And the bird you cannot change. And this bird you cannot change. Lord knows I can’t change.”

Holding true to the themes of the movie, the lyrics of the song radiate through the ballroom as the band plays under a banner reading “if it wasn’t this, it would be something else.” Again, it would be way too easy to view this thought through the lenses of negativity, and I refuse to do that today.

Instead, I hold up my freedom to express my beliefs, and (I’m not going to lie), doing so makes me feel free as a bird. Some might think me ignorant for shining some positive sunlight on thoughts others may view negatively, but what can I say? This bird you cannot change.