Personal Freedom vs. Societal Responsibility

I remember when it became real.

We were traveling from Wisconsin to Georgia on a Monday morning, mid-March.

The highways were eerily quiet. No traffic in Chicago. Indiana Starbucks, drive-thru only. Heck. I didn’t even have to yell BRAKE LIGHTS (the hubby appreciates my help) as we drove through Louisville and Nashville and Chattanooga. Rush hour in Atlanta wasn’t even a thing.

On the bright side, we made it home in record time.

Lots of changes since that day. Many of which have become so routine, I don’t even give them a second thought.

Mask wearing. Hand sanitizing. Social distancing.

Other changes, I do think about. A lot. Zoom family dinners. Google Meet Happy Hour with friends. Online church. Online shopping.

Eating out. (Out as in outside).

Just not the same.

And then there are the changes that make my heart ache and my eyes tear up.

Not seeing my oldest daughter for almost a year. Not giving my mom a hug. No visits from friends and family.

To some of you, my actions are over the top. To others, I may not have done enough.

I have no regrets regarding the actions I have taken to protect myself and others.

But there are situations I wish I would have handled differently.

Here’s the thing: I believe in science. I trust experts. And I understand scientific conclusions may need to be revised when new evidence is discovered.

And no, I’m not living in fear. I am a middle-aged, white woman of average weight with no preexisting conditions. I have access to health care. (Of course I am just an average Joe, so chances are if I do contract the virus, I won’t have access to any miracle drugs, but my odds seem favorable for receiving adequate care.)

So no. I’m not worried about me.

Our culture encourages us to stand up for ourselves and demand our rights, even at the expense of others.

And while it may be my personal freedom to do as I please, to put myself at risk, I don’t have the right to make that decision for others.

To exercise freedom without responsibility can lead to lamentable, if not catastrophic consequences.

And I for one, prefer not to go there.

Something to Eat

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

by Crowded Kitchen

These were D-licious. A trifecta of flavors: sweet, smoky, and spicy–a perfect combination. As a bonus, this recipe can easily be customized. Not a spicy person? Reduce or eliminate the cayenne. Smoky flavor not your thing? Skip the smoked paprika. I would not, however, skip the fresh rosemary. Not only does it add taste, but it makes your house smell all kinds of wonderful. I made a batch to give away as gifts using little canning jars. So pretty. Kinda felt like I was channeling my inner Martha Stewart.

Something to Read


by Bob Staake

I’m a fan of picture books. Especially ageless and timeless picture books. I routinely shared this book with my middle schoolers, and it never failed to silence a classroom (except for the sniffles). There are no words in this book. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. But the message about friendship and bullying could not be more clear.

Something to Ponder

We are allowed to do all things, but all things are not good for us to do. We are allowed to do all things, but not all things help others grow stronger. Do not look out only for yourselves. Look out for the good of others also.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24

And that’s all she wrote. She, being me. I hope your week went well and you are able to enjoy the season. Personally, I’m a little jealous of all who got a little snow this past week. Oh, how I miss a good snow day! (Except, of course, for the part about it being cold in order to have one. Oh, and due to virtual learning, I guess snow days aren’t really a thing anymore.) Take care, my friends, and as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

3 thoughts on “Personal Freedom vs. Societal Responsibility

  1. Karen,

    I haven’t seen my aunt or cousin since February. They were/are one of my main social contacts. I can’t hug my friends after a hike and I can’t reach out to touch strangers (you probably shouldn’t but I do it all the time. A gentle hand here and there won’t hurt). I have been as kind and polite to people in person though as I can manage. I hope this helps.

    Your post resonates with me so thank you. I have long felt that the beauty and blessing of havings rights is not so much your ability to exercise them but your willingness to use discretion in exercising them. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that it is always the best idea to do that thing. There is real personal freedom in choosing and that ability to choose does not diminish or eliminate your rights in any way. I don’t own a gun (I never would) but I retain my right to bear arms, whether I want it or not. And so does everyone else, whether I like it or not. It’s our collective right.

    Thank you again. Keep going!


    1. I so appreciate your thoughtful response, Libby. Your perspective not only pushes me to think a bit deeper, but to think in new ways. I really hope that one day I can get a Libby hug. You are truly a special soul.


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