jerry whited

Irony can be defined as “words to convey the opposite of the literal meaning.”

A better explanation is an example.

According to Rick Brinkley, the best example of irony is being in prison and celebrating Independence Day.

Everyone will remember Brinkley as our senator in the Legislature. He ran the Better Business Bureau and served as a one-time preacher, and was close to being second from the governor.

He spoke for the first time to a senior group at First Church on July 4 since his release from prison six months ago. He spoke candidly about his gambling addiction for six years and how it got him into trouble.

Brinley said he told God he could have everything else in his life except his addiction. But his world came crashing down in a matter of minutes. Suddenly it was on the news, in phone conversations, scrolling across TV screens. And he saw himself falling into a deep, dark hole. He didn’t leave his house for months. A rehab facility “was the best thing I’ve done in my life.”

He was sent to prison for 37 months, serving 32.

He said he wanted to talk about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He said most live above their financial means but below their spiritual means. We also live below the freedoms we have. Every Fourth of July, he said, inmates would gather and look out the view to the south and watch the fireworks. Nothing was said, but all realized they were celebrating this day of freedom but were not free.

“How free are we?” he asked. “I built a wall around me with my additions.” He told senators who visited. “Everybody ought to spend six months in prison. It takes away access to internet, phones, most TV, family. You have nothing but yourself. Your spirituality deepens.”

The Declaration states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. “That we are endowed by our Creator with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” He said we need to love life; we need to be free from those things that hold us down; and we need to seek happiness.

“Only then we will know what true freedom really is.”