In 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights said the following in article eighteen: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”. 
I have a good friend who recently lamented the fact that we were no longer living in what she termed “the good old days”. She wants to go back. I understand. This new world of technology and global access to information in a nanosecond is overwhelming. I too daydream of the good old days when I visited my grandmother and used her phone to call my friend Beth next door. Beth and I had to be careful with our girlish chatter, because this was back in the day when everyone on Ruby Street was on a party line….meaning anyone on the street could pick up and listen in to whatever we were saying! It’s funny now to think of times we were shhhhsed or told to get off so someone else could make an IMPORTANT call. I long for a return to those summer visits and all they represented in my life like a camel who is ending his journey across an arid desert in search of a much-needed watering hole.
But the good old days were not great for our friends of color, who were not allowed to go to the schools we attended and weren’t welcomed in certain stores and did not have freedom to choose their favorite seat on the bus. Where is their good old day?
I know that when we feel anxious about life, we sometimes run to memories of a time when we felt safe (those lucky enough to have one or two of them). I do that all the time myself. I remember Ruby Street and the porch glider and children’s games and the red pitcher we drank cool water out of like it was a fabulous treat. I remember the Laughing Record. I remember my grandfather looking for me while I hid in plain sight. When he found me it was like he had found the best gift in the world. I remember these lifelong friendships…sad stories, happy, and all that lies in between. So I can go to nostalgia land.
However, I can also live reasonably well in the present world too. I can feel lonely and send Beth a private FB message. When Beth/Scott/David’s dad passed away, rather than getting all nostalgic, Pete and I hopped in the car and attended the funeral. This was such a small thing to do. But we are free to make these decisions in real time. Here is what I am suggesting. We have more freedom than perhaps we are taking advantage of on a daily basis. Every single stinking day we have an opportunity to freely choose acceptance, love and hope – among other lovely ways of being. Today, instead of getting your neck all sore craning around to ruminate over the past, or tripping over your feet because your eyes are glued to the future that isn’t even visible no matter how hard you stare….think about what you can do today to make this world a better place for those you love.
 United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10th, 1948, available at http://www.un.org/en/documenets/udhr/index.shtml#a18.