I hope that everyone enjoyed the Labor Day Weekend. I know I did. I was able to take some time and go visit my Mom. She really is a special person. Everyone's Mom is … right? 🙂 We spent some time reminiscing about what it was like for her when she came to the US from Germany right after World War II.
My Mom didn't speak any English at all …. had no idea of what life looked like outside of her little village in the mountains … but … she KNEW that America was where FREEDOM was to be found … and FREEDOM is what she wanted more than anything else … FREEDOM to be able to do whatever she wanted to do without having to worry that someone would come and lock her up in a prison camp for speaking her mind, for disagreeing with things … FREEDOM to earn her own money so that she could own her own house … FREEDOM to have and raise children that could get a really good education and make something more of themselves than she had been able to make of herself. It was a really bold and brave move on her part to step on board that ocean liner with her brand new husband and travel across the Atlantic for two weeks to find the FREEDOM that she knew was waiting for her,
She grew up on a big dairy farm in the Bavarian mountains … (they didn't even have indoor plumbing until the mid 1980's) … everybody got up at 4:00 am to milk the cows and feed the animals … everybody worked until the sun went down … my Grandma cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for her own family and15 farm hands everyday …
My Mom walked 2 1/2 kilometers to school every day .. and she walked those same 2 1/2 kilometers to get back home every day. There was no such thing as a public school bus in those days. She helped on the farm … milking the cows … no big fancy milking machinery back then either … working in the garden … helping my Grandma with the house work … doing all the regular stuff that you do when you live on a big farm in a tiny little village.
My Mom had a passion for baking and playing the violin and guitar. And she was really talented. My Grandma made sure that she was able to study with a local teacher and a local baker. That didn't last very long though. By the time my Mom was 14 or 15 years old Germany was at war with the world … my Uncles and most of the farm hands were conscripted into the Army and the only people left to take care of that HUGE farm were my grandparents, my aunt and my Mom along with a couple of elderly helpers. Life changed radically. The local officials came and took whatever food and livestock they needed for the troops … my family had to give them whatever they wanted otherwise they would have been shot right where they stood. Food became very scarce. Petrol was as expensive as gold. The schools closed because it wasn't safe for the kids any longer.
There were no more music lessons … no more baking lessons … money was worthless … a wheelbarrow full of Deutsche Marks was barely enough to buy a loaf of bread … inflation was out of control …
Kids will always find a way to eek out a bit of fun regardless of their circumstances however. My Mom learned how to drive a motorcycle. It was her ticket to FREEDOM. Riding that motorcycle gave her the ability to escape the reality of the war that surrounded her. When she was riding she was dreaming … dreaming about what it would be like to be a married woman with her own home and children … She saw her nice house with a beautiful lawn, gorgeous flower beds, a dog and a kitty cat playing in the front yard. She saw her kids playing together and growing up in peace and prosperity … That is the dream that got her on that boat with my father in 1952.
My Mom left her family behind. They thought she was crazy to come to the United States. But, her husband was an American citizen. He was tired of the war too. He had spent 4 years in a Polish prison camp and wanted to do nothing more than return home to a place that had not been bombed out, to the place where his parents had come to be safe and free while the Russian Revolution was taking place, the place where he had been born FREE. FREEDOM is what he promised his bride and it was what she wanted more than anything else in the world. Living in America was FREEDOM to both of them.
But there always is a price to pay for the privilege of living free.
My Mom was in this country a grand total of two weeks when she went to work in a factory so that she could earn her own money. She wanted a house of her own. She wanted a car of her own. She wanted to have children. She worked for $1.00 an hour for two years and saved every penny. She worked as much overtime as she could. She walked 3 miles to work and 3 miles back home so that she could earn her own money. Finally my Mom and Dad had enough money saved to use as a down payment on their house.
I was in diapers when they started building that house. THEY built the house with their own two hands. And they were proud of that because it was theirs. They invested every penny they earned in building a house for their family. That house represented FREEDOM to them. Money was tight all of the time while I was growing up. Mom and Dad never got into the "oh The Jones' have a brand new car so we need to get one too" kind of lifestyle so many people started living. That was a pretty brave move on their part. I know that my Dad was ridiculed alot because he didn't give a hoot about what anyone else was doing. He just did his thing.
My Dad made the decision to open up his own business. It took almost three years for it to start showing a profit. By then, my Mom had three kids and she knew that she had to go back to work to support all of us while my Dad's business got rolling. She went to work at night so that she could be home during the day to take care of the little ones and to make sure that I got off to school each morning. By this time she was able to speak and read English really well. So she was able to get a job that paid her $1.80 an hour. She was able to take care of all of us, put food on the table, pay the bills … she was being responsible for her family and she was glad that she had the FREEDOM to be able to work hours that worked for her.
By 1963 my Dad's business finally got into the black and he was able to start contributing to the household. That was the year my brother was born. My Mom made the choice to keep on working even with the new baby. She saved the money that she was earning and saved what she could from the money my father gave her to run the household. My father had started investing in the stock market on a very small scale by then. He was pleased to see how well his stocks were doing so he kept at it. In 1966 my father was involved in a horrible gas explosion that left him with 3rd degree burns all over his face,chest, hands and arms. He almost died. He was in the hospital for weeks having skin grafts and recovering. His business was not open … there was no income coming in. Thank God my Mom had the resources available to her to be able to take care of the household expenses.
When my Dad finally got out of the hospital, my Mom wanted him to get rid of his business and go work for someone else. I remember my Dad saying to her, "I would rather be dead than have to work for someone else. This is my life and I am going to live it the way I want to. I am not going to die making someone else rich. I live in the United States of America, the richest country in the world. And I am a free man because I fought for that freedom. You will not take that away from me."
My Dad kept his business running in the black until 1976 when he retired and sold the business for a handsome profit. My Mom still has her house – free and clear of any mortgage. She has been retired for the past 18 years and even though the cost of living has risen dramatically, she has never had to worry about how she is going to pay for anything. Was it always easy … no. Was it worth it … my Mom will tell you yes. She will also tell you that no one really understands the sacrifices you have to make when you decide to live life free and on your terms. But, she will also tell you that it is worth ANY price that you have to pay, most people just aren't brave enough to pay the price.
So my question for you today is …
Whose TRUTH are you really living …??? Your parents', your friends', the government's, the economy's ….???
What is it going to take for YOU to start LIVING FREE, to start LIVING BRAVE …???
Are you going to continue being a slave to your fears … or are you going to confront them and make them disappear?
Are you willing to start taking CONTROL of the things that are CONTROLLING YOU …???
Are you willing to be BRAVE enough to play BIG … to risk BIG so that you can be FREE …???
Do you even have a definition of what FREEDOM is for you …???
Here is what FREEDOM is for me ….
I am FREE when I never have to work another minute of my life to be able to afford the lifestyle of my choice. I am FREE when what I do provides so much VALUE to other people they GLADLY pay me to PLAY with them for a living. I am FREE when I am living my loving and getting paid handsomely to do it !!
I know that you have the ability to provide enormous value to others and that people will gladly pay you for it.
There’s only one thing that prevents anyone from seeing this truth and that is fear.
Be brave enough to be yourself. Your real value is rooted in who you are, not what you do.
The only thing anyone need actually do is express their real, authentic self to the world.
We’ve been told all sort of lies as to why we can’t do that. I know I was. My Mom and Dad heard them too !!
But no one will ever know true happiness and fulfillment until they summon the courage to do it anyway.
Deep down in our hearts we KNOW that getting a job isn’t what any of us really wants. So we can't allow anyone to try to tell us otherwise.
We have to learn to trust our inner wisdom, even if the whole world says we’re wrong and crazy for doing so.
Years from now you’ll look back and realize it was one of the best decisions you ever made. Just ask my Mom !!
I would love for you to tell me what YOUR definition of FREEDOM is !!