By Nate Thayer
November 21, 2013
I am, I think, most grateful in life for being born a free person. I know many–many of whom are my friends–who were not.
No government, no authority is less flawed than me. And no person is more flawed than I.
For the most part, the successes and joys and the equally and, crucially, humbling number of failures and missteps I have had in my short life have resulted from my having been blessed with having free choices.
Choices that have allowed me to stumble.
Choices that have allowed me to fail.
Choices that have allowed me to be wrong.
Choices that allowed me to suffer.
Choices I have made that have caused others pain.
Choices that have made me weep in regret or shame.
God knows, I have made choices that have made me do all of these.
These fruits of being a free man allowed me to be able to be a satisfied, happy, fulfilled and, to a small, but important to me, modicum degree, contribute, in a very small way, to a better world.
To have been free to stumble, has allowed me to be free to choose to learn how not to stumble that way again, if I chose not to. I hadand still have that choice.
Choices that have allowed me to fail, have allowed me the choice to better move forward, to learn how to succeed, if I chose to. Failing has blessed me with success.
Being free to choose to fail, has made me free to understand the importance of empathy for others when they, like we all do, fail.
It has allowed me to understand the importance of accepting as a blessing the flaws in others, their different ones and the ones we all share.
To be free to have the choice to be wrong, to be mistaken, has given me the choice to know, better, what was closer to what is right. And then, later, a few times, free to have been right.
Choices I have made that I have suffered from have allowed me to have deeper compassion for others when they, like all of us, suffer.
Choices I have made that have caused others undeserved pain, have graced me with being the recipient of forgiveness and unconditional love.
And have allowed me, as a free man, to understand the vital import of being forgiving to others when they, like we all do, have caused pain to me or others through our choices.
Being free to have caused others pain has made me free to, and the importance of, forgiving others when they, also, have trod behind me on that same path.
Choices that I have made that have caused me to weep with eternal regret and shame, have allowed me to be less judgmental of others mistakes or sins, to offer an intimate understanding with others in their darker or darkest hours.
This has allowed me to offer unconditional love because I now know better the special beauty of having received unconditional love has been to me.
If, like many in the world, I had not been allowed to exercise a free mind and free choices, and the blessing of a political system that demanded and protected critical thinking and the rights of all flawed people to be free to be flawed, I would never have been free to contribute to move, ever so slowly, in at least the right direction of a more perfect man, a better world, a happier child who has come after me.
The right to make choices for each and every one of us, especially the wrong choices, has and remains one of my greatest blessings of being born a free man.
Being free to be wrong has allowed me, occasionally, to know, at least better, what is right.
No government, no authority is less flawed than me. And no person is more than I am.