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If you can’t name the movie, you need to get out more. Plain and simple. Put on a pair of sneakers. Hit up a Red Box. Spend a buck on the expansion of your mind.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, picture Mel Gibson atop that stalwart stallion, face painted, passion overflowing. Sense the tension. Feel the pressure. And then, at the top of his Scottish lungs, William Wallace yells that powerful phrase: “They may take our lives… but they’ll never take our freedom!” And in that moment we all felt it, too, didn’t we? Freedom.

That scene crossed my mind several times this past holiday weekend as I trekked off on my own for a solo road trip along the East Coast. Not completely solo, I suppose. I did drag along a turkey for the occasion, though he didn’t talk much. Hours and hours spent in ridiculous, mind-numbing holiday traffic can strangely offer lots of time to get stuff done. I found the highway miles very productive. While Teddy (the Turkey) sat quietly in the trunk, I was able to:

      • Catch up on post-election politics via talk radio
      • Listen to 12 episodes of Adventures in Odyssey (and bawl crying when Whit left town and Eugene ran to the airport to say goodbye)
      • Dance (badly) to Rihanna and old school Justin Timberlake
      • Count 16 different state license plates
      • Sing at the top of my lungs to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album (started with my windows down to “get the Christmas feeling,” but rolled them up after I got a few weird looks from other drivers)
      • See how long I could make a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee last (85 mile markers is the answer)
      • Play “Guess if there’s a McDonald’s at the next exit” against myself (I won!)
      • Listen to Sherlock Holmes on tape (“The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb!”)
      • Prayed a list of everything I’m thankful for in my life… and drove in silence for a long time reflecting on God’s goodness
      • Develop a mental to-do list for the next three weeks of my life
      • Find the perfect ratio of car-heat-to-seat-warmer-to-cracked-window to maintain driving comfort and open eyelids
      • Leave voicemail messages on many friends’ phones, since apparently no one answers when I actually need someone to keep me awake

(Seriously, I should teach a class called “Solo Road Trip Productivity 101.” I amaze even myself sometimes.)

Throughout the weekend of fun and relaxation with friends, I found myself smiling both on the outside and the inside. Smiling on the outside because my friends (and their kids) are simply hilarious. And smiling on the inside because I’m in a good place in life. I’ve got great people surrounding me. I’ve got a good job. I have a cozy home in an awesome city. I love my church. I’m single. And it’s all good.

Contrary to popular belief, when I refer to “freeeeedooom” as it relates to my single life, I’m not saying it in any way that’s condescending to marriage or relationships. I may joke about that from time to time (case in point: my last blog post, which was a joke, people!), but that’s not how I see it in actuality. If singlehood is, in fact, freedom, that would mean relationships are bondage. Nope, that can’t be right. No one would ever want marriage if that were the case. Plus the Bible says marriage is a blessing.

The Braveheart reference is meant to show freedom in life — the freedom you feel when you are in the right place, surrounded by solid community, feeling the fullness and blessing that comes only from God. That’s freedom.

And that’s the kind of freedom we can experience in any stage in life, in any financial situation, in any relationship status. That’s the kind of freedom that isn’t withheld from single people or — flip the coin — isn’t taken away when you get married. Because we’ve all heard a married person make the comment, “Oh, I wish I was still single and free like you!” Although there are parts of marriage and parenthood that naturally tie people down, those ties don’t translate to bondage unless you let them. The time I spent with my married friends this past weekend proved exactly the opposite, because they were undeniably free. No, they can’t drop everything like I can and drive 12 hours down the coast at a moment’s notice, but they are no less free in life.

It’s the kind of freedom that William Wallace still proclaimed, even as he was cruelly and unjustly put to death. “Freeeeedooom!!!” Because situation does not control freedom. Not the freedom I’m talking about anyway. It’s a state of being that comes from the important things in life — our relationships with others and our relationship with our creator.

So if the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed.
John 8:36

Whatever you do today, please don’t picture me in a kilt riding my horse off into the sunset. Oh, wait. I’ve gone and put that image in your head, now haven’t I? Oh well, guess it’s too late then.

Whether single or married, consider living out your own Braveheart moment today. Consider viewing relationship status as nothing more than a check box. Consider defining your life by what really matters. (Hint: A little face paint goes a long way.)

~Ruth