Max galloped across the quarter-mile field toward the Old North Bridge, one hand holding imaginary reigns and the other hand holding the failing elastic in his shorts. “I’m Paul Revere!” he shouted as he passed by other less enthusiastic visitors. Max loves everything about the Revolutionary War. He loves the facts, dates, soldiers, and he might even go for a pair of wool knickers if they came with more efficient elastic at the waist. But there is something else he loves about visiting the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, the very site where the Revolutionary War began.
He loves the freedom.
There are few places where I can let go of Max’s hand, few times when there is not someone within grabbing distance of my fast moving 24 year-old son with autism. It means my everyday life is filled with darting and lifting and intervals of high aerobic activity – like Cross Fit. It is easy to become weary, and yet this journey is a remarkable privilege. God gives me the opportunity to defend, protect, and by even the smallest of gestures, affirm the value of human life. This is the square inch of territory God has asked me to steward.
I watched from a distance as my son ran along the path toward the Old North Bridge, his feet kicking up a whirling circle of dust like the Roadrunner. I finally caught up with him at one of the monuments. Max climbed the stone steps and traced his fingers over the worn letters as he did his best to read each word. Max has gained such independence that I could stand at a distance and, perhaps for the first time, truly listen to the words.
“Here on the 19 of April 1775 was made the first forcible resistance to the British aggression. On the opposite bank stood the American Militia. Here stood the invading army and on this spot the first of the enemy fell in the War of that Revolution which gave Independence to the United States.
In gratitude to God and in the love of Freedom, this monument was erected 1836”
My eyes gazed toward the bridge as I pictured the battle. I imagined the men who stepped forward. “I haven’t a man who’s afraid to go,” Captain Isaac Davis had said of his men who had gathered together to stand against the British soldiers. I brushed my foot against the soil knowing Captain Isaac Davis, along with others, lost their lives on this very ground. Our freedom, our country, was born of this battle.
I stared down at the dusty path and dug my toe into the soil, humbled by the sacrifice of these men. And I wondered,
Am I willing to sacrifice it all for what I believe to be true and right and good?
Will I hold to God’s truth, daring to draw a line in the sand?
And when opposition comes, and it will surely come, will I retreat in fear? Or, by His help, will I steward the one square inch of territory God has given to me?
Out of the corner of my eye I could see Max starting to gallop toward the bridge again. I glanced at the proximity of the other visitors knowing my son can, at times, move from point A to point B in a style similar to a wrecking ball. I lunged for Max’s hand, but when I saw the unbridled joy on his face, I let him go free. He darted over the bridge with his knees bouncing toward his chin. As he reached the other side, much to the surprise of the other more neutral visitors, Max sounded the alarm.
“The British are coming! The British are coming!”
By Emily Colson
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” Abraham Kuyper