«He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor’ (Proverbs 21:21).
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born on September 29, 1547, in Alcalá de Henares (Spain). In 1566, the family moved to Madrid, where Cervantes attended Estudio de la Villa. In 1569, he fled to Rome for inflicting injury on a man and enlisted as a soldier in the company of Captain Diego de Urbina. He participated in the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, as part of the Christian army commanded by John of Austria.
On September 26, 1575, when he returned from Naples to Spain, a Turldsh floålla went out to meet the galley in which he traveled and took him prisoner. He spent five years in Algiers imprisoned under very harsh conditions. He tried to flee four times, but they all were failures. Finally, a priest obtained money to pay for his ransom and he was released on September 19, 1580.
Back in Spain, he went through very difficult economic situations and went to jail for debts. In 1605, he wrote Don Quixote, the most important work of Castilian literature. Through his characters, Cervantes lets us see his deep convictions regarding freedom and the footprint that prisons left in his life:
«I was born free, and that I might live in freedom I chose the solitude of the fields»— Don Quijote, p. 243.
«For to my mind there is no happiness on earth to compare with recovering lost liberty»—Don Quijote, p. 625.
«For the hope of obtaining my liberty never deserted me»— Don Quijote, p. 629. 4. «l crossed into Italy, and reached Germany, and there it seemed to me we might live with more freedom, as the inhabitants do not pay attention to trifling points; everyone lives as he likes, for in most parts they enjoy liberty of con science»—Don Quijote, p. 1361.
«Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts that heaven has bestowed upon men; no treasure that the earth holds buried or the sea conceals can compare with it; for freedom, as for honors, life may and should be ventured; and on the other hand, captivity is the greatest evil that can fall to the lot of man»—Don Quijote, p. 1390.
Cervantes never ceased yearning to be free and he obtained his freedom. He was so happy to savor that freedom that he wrote a monumental work that continues to transform lives.
Are you having a hard day today? Remember, it won’t be forever. It is possible that this experience is the foundation of the legacy that you are going to leave this world.