Essay:Life Isn't Free

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'Is Life “On the House?”

We have been blessed by our Creator with the gift of life and its numerous pleasurable activities. However, how many of these proceedings are truly without payment? According to Webster’s, the lexical definition of free is: “costing nothing, gratuitous.” Does not every experience have a price tag, a “read the fine print sign?” How can advertisers promote the “free” message for various objects… only to later reveal that one needs several UPC’s or must purchase another product to qualify for the publicized item? Although nothing in life is complimentary, the uncomplicated actions that require minimal imbursement can be the most worthwhile. An examination in the areas of taxes, human relationships, possessions, and simple activities will reveal how little effort is required to bring contentment.

Taxes are the first way in which we can observe how little sacrifice is required for pleasure. Since its early foundation, the government of the United States has required that its citizens provide funds from their earnings to support its projects and public services. However, instead of assuming an attitude of belligerence due to this forfeit, should we not look at the amount of good this minuscule deduction from our paychecks has caused? Because of these levies, the average American adolescent can now benefit from attaining an education up to the high school level, a significant tool that will forever alter their futures, teaching them time-management, creativity, social skills, competition, and aiding them in discovering their inner selves. Previously available to only the upper class, gaining an education has advanced those who partake of its infinite application and our society itself. There are now a wider range of careers than ever before. As Tom Brokaw said, “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as a ticket to a good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as a ticket to change the world.” The application of taxes does not benefit just minors, however. Levies aide in supporting the public library system; anyone has limitless access to resources, through the use of reading materials, tapes, videos, and the Internet, again contributing to one’s obtaining of knowledge. Taxes also encompass many day-to-day factors that we take for granted, such as paved roads for us to drive, the protection from peril provided by the police, provide funds for homeland security and the defense of our prosperous nation, and the assurance of assistance from the fire department in the event of inferno. In addition, the majority of tax-payers fail to remember that God has commanded us to give with a cheerful heart. Should we not consider our annual and monthly bills “love notes,” as they provide us with the many services we would be unable to complete unaided? For example, we should be grateful to the water and gas companies for building the trenches that provide us with these necessities; we should be thankful that we don’t have to sting our own power lines or mix our own asphalt for the public roads. Also, unbeknownst to citizens unhappy that cash has been removed from their salary, levies are the foundation for many aides in foreign nations where the basic necessities are rare and the people are less fortunate. For example, due to the tax dollars of its citizens, the United States was able to liberate Iraq from its oppressive dictator and establish a much-needed democracy.

Second, although not without sacrifice, human relationships can have positive outcomes that out-way the initial cost. Friendship is a prime example of this argument. As the old saying goes, “To make a friend, you must be a friend.” Camaraderie requires both partners to remain loyal and bestow support. If commenced correctly, one gains a companion to have fun with, share thoughts and grow up with together. Love is also a superior illustration of this point. This misused and confusing word is never completely spelled out for the individual: one must work at it, recognizing the faults of their partner, giving unconditionally, and reserving oneself to purity. As Sam Keen correctly stated, “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” However, when all is said and done, you will have obtained a relationship with someone upon whom you can completely trust and will be there with you till the end. Marriage is also positive because it qualifies for a tax return (just kidding!). Time spent with kin also builds a significant human relationship. Your relatives and immediate family are the ones who are there to assist you in difficult situations, offer advice, and prepare you for the world. The only requirement is that you support them as well, even if it means giving up your Saturday to go to your little sister’s soccer game. (You can skip one morning of cartoons!). As Winston Churchill stated, “There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened, and maintained.” An anonymous quote avows, “No man on his death bed ever looked into the eyes of his family and friends and said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’” Even broken relations, such as a single parent, provide encouragement as members of the assemblage can look to friends or neighbors as their “family.” There are also relationships that we can formulate by giving of ourselves. By rendering a small portion of our busy schedules and energy to help disadvantaged people, such as in a soup kitchen or a mission’s trip, can have tremendous effects. Revealing that you care can forever alter another’s view in life and touch their hearts in unexpected ways, perhaps even bring them to a personal relationship with their Creator. Service can also prompt transformation in the individual who is assisting, as they can see how blessed they are to have so much when some people have so little.

Possessing and maintaining of property, although certainly not free, can bring gladness to an individual as well. There are an immeasurable number of products advertised today that claim to bring happiness. Even while this may be true, the happiness will be only temporary, as the item will be superceded by newer models or upgrades. However, an attempt to gain the article can have positive outcomes. For example, if a child desires a bicycle, his parents should, rather than simply succumb to pressure and make the purchase, require him to labor for his aspiration. He will learn the value of hard work, how to manage his funds, and have a greater appreciation of the object because he endeavored for its attainment. Also, the maintenance of our belongings should bestow constructive conclusions. When one utilizes energy preserve his equipment, he gains the satisfaction that he has employed his time wisely and is employing his objects to their full extent. Even the Lord advocates the preservation of property. When man was first created, God gave him the responsibility of maintaining the Garden of Eden and the inhabiting beasts. Genesis 2:15 affirms, “And the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” This factor greatly ties in with ones responsibility of stewardship. An illustration of this would be that the Bible commands us to manage our money wisely. We can also exert energy to supervise other areas of our life such as our time, body, and work ethic.

In America, we are constantly assailed with the message that “The newer or bigger or faster or better something is, the more happiness it will bring.” Does this mean we must overuse our credit cards to buy plasma TV’s and Hummers to be content? Are there not less expensive ways to achieve this goal? If we can take the time out of our hectic lives to just observe all that’s available and the simple things we are neglecting, a higher level of gratification will be achieved. For example, when was the last time you exerted energy to take a casual stroll in the park? How about applying yourself mentally and writing a letter to a friend? Baking some cookies? Painting a picture? Is it so much to ask to perform these proceedings?

In conclusion, nothing that is available in this life is free. However, several of the things that require us to give minimal amounts of our time, energy, or money, things we have overlooked due to fast-paced agendas, can outweigh the initial expense. Even if we are not repaid in funds, we can still gain blessings through the observation of our deductions to the government, interactions with others, upkeep of possessions, and basic actions. To gain these aspects, all one is really required to do is to retain an optimistic attitude. Therefore, let us slow down from our frenzied agendas, “stop to smell the roses,” and look to the basic activities in life for the greatest satisfaction.