~ Guest Writer, Julia Rael ~

Everyone’s lives are filled with milestones.

From the day we enter this world to the day we leave it, we constantly cross thresholds that represent starting a new chapter in our lives. Around this time of year, my mind begins dwelling on such milestones. Some friends of mine recently graduated from high school and college, and they’re now about to embark on a new journey in their lives.

They are about to experience freedom in a new way.

Some of them will no longer be living in their parent’s homes, and they’ll have to learn what the cost of freedom actually is.

Eleanor Roosevelt once put it this way:
“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

I think I have always taken advantage of freedom. As a child, I remember dreaming of the day when I would turn 18 and be able to have my own car and my own apartment that I could decorate any way I wanted to. In reality, when my 18th birthday rolled around, I was hiding from the reality that now I had to go out and find a real job that would pay for my school tuition. Freedom became something that I no longer welcomed. I missed the days when my parents took care of my every need and I didn’t have to think about things like car insurance and taxes.

But the thing about freedom is that it is what you make it.

I realized that I had a choice to make: I was either going to be bogged down by the responsibilities that freedom gave me, or I could use my freedom as an opportunity to spread my wings and soar.

There is a piece of choir music published by Hinshaw Music on this subject that has been in the back of my mind for quite a while now (I know I’m biased – I work for them.) This month’s piece is very simple but no less inspiring and beautiful. Watch Me Fly by Sherry Blevins is a piece about finding your wings. It’s about learning to embrace your freedom and fly. This piece is an excellent selection for graduation ceremonies or culmination services. The text spoke to me deeply as I thought about fearing freedom; “I know dreams are not to fear, for they live and breathe right here. Not in darkness, but in light, they find courage to take flight…” The simple, yet stirring melodies of this song will speak to your heart in a way that leaves a lasting impression. The song is meant to be sung by children – with an optional adult chorus – and something about the innocent voices of children makes the song stand out even more.

This song reminds me of when I was a child – before bills. Before taxes. Before student loans. But it also reminds me that even as adults we have constant opportunities to dream – and we shouldn’t let those opportunities pass us by. Growing up inevitably brings us a specific kind of freedom, and it’s up to us what we choose to do with it. Your freedom may look different than mine, but one thing is for sure –

we all have the freedom to dream.

Being so free can get lonely at times, however. So it is important that we reach out to people that we know are discovering new freedoms. Whether they be new students that just moved to a university far from their families, or they are people you know that are exploring new things in their lives – reach out to them and offer them encouragement. Encourage them to never stop working hard. Encourage them to keep on dreaming. The day that we embrace these things and take that confident leap of faith, we see that we truly do all have the freedom to fly.


Where will your wings take you?

Julia Rael

Julia is a young, enthusiastic writer whose love for music is threatened by only one thing: her love for coffee. She is currently a choral music student and barista in Los Angeles, where she likes to spend her free time bullet journaling, hiking, and laughing at her two English Bulldogs – Emma and Charlie.

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