Cresting Airport Hill on my way to Jamestown this morning, the air was cool, the sky clear, beauty all around me. Five days ago I boarded a plane in Cuba, landing three hours later in a different world, modern and free. As a US citizen, I can travel anywhere in the world without question. I have to go through the normal security checks, but no one tells me I must remain on US soil. This morning, one of my Cuban friends wakes to a different beauty, sits in his tiny garden reading his Bible and praying. Yesterday he went to Havana hoping to get a visa permitting him to travel outside his country. He was turned down. For no discernible reason. The contrast could hardly be more stark. As beautiful as Cuba can be, my friend is prisoner in his own country.
We take it for granted to be able to travel when and where we want, not giving a moment's thought that for many people, that privilege isn't even a dream. I am grateful tonight to be home, and for having been born in a land where freedom is assumed. It is a rare and precious gift, easily squandered, fragile and needing protection. May we always treasure it enough to protect it from those who would either take it from us by force or nibble away at it imperceptibly until we wake to find it gone.