So this may sound strange, but for the last week or so I have been thinking about something I read on a bathroom stall. Someone thought it would be clever to write a poem of sorts that took up the entire bathroom door. In short, the prose offered to its readers how many obligations and duties we are required to fulfill as Americans. The punch of the graffiti expressed our flawed understanding of what it means to be Free. I am not sure I know of any other country that boasts so thoroughly and proudly of its undeniable freedom and liberty other than the United States. Where I am a citizen.
Just the concept of how America was founded exudes liberation and freedom from oppression, but the point of what was written on that stall was to highlight the fact that even with our natural right to freedom as humans we consistently hand over our freedom to become slaves to our vices and our routines.
Now I think I may be painting a picture that too brightly describes what I read on that bathroom door, but this is where my heart settled and mind traveled. The meaning that I gained and probably pulled out of the mouth of the author. (I may have even thrown some words into his mouth too)
Now you may assume that I am taking this blog in a route that proclaims how we have been set free from all of these painful attributes of humanity. And we have been set free by Christ. You may think I am going to cite verse after verse. Exegesis this and that. But I don’t believe that will be my intention.
Looking at my own life and the lives of those dear to me, I have watched us enslave ourselves. I have watched us shackle our wrists and bound our ankles.
Just reflecting in the misery found in this imagery boils my eyes with bubbling water, ready to overflow.
What I am offering my dear readers and friends is that we all bare this burden.
My desire in writing today is to question the very meaning of what it is to be free…
What is freedom. Honestly. Ask yourselves.
Is it the freedom to think? The freedom to express? The freedom to create? The freedom to be exactly who you deem yourself to be?
Is it the ability to succeed?
Is it an exhalation out of oppression?
Now that one stings. Freedom: the ability to not be affected by the powers of others. To meet your highest potential… If that is freedom we are all, all very very much slaves.
These all may be parts of being free. Of grasping liberty. But for me, it is not enough.
Everyone of these definitions, to me, (and hopefully you see it as well) require the participation of other people.
All of these definitions, these denotations and connotations imply others recognizing your freedom.
If that is true. Can any of us truly be free?
I believe my intentions are finally surfacing, even though I was not sure what they would be.
I am not proposing an answer because this is something that is aching my heart and confusing my mind.
So if our definition of freedom includes complete individuality and the relativity of our identity, I worry we are all doing something terribly wrong.
Even as I am sitting here at my coffee shop of choice, writing because I believe it is the right thing to do. Because I believe it is required of who I am. I will even go as far to say I am prisoner to it.
I am seeing families, I am seeing friends, I am seeing couples. If our “freedom” hinged on separation from these individuals where does that leave us?
Can freedom and loneliness be synonymous?
I am being weighed down with many questions that I may not be articulating very well.
I just know that as it seems. Discovering freedom in ourselves, created by ourselves. Frees us from the needs of others.
That scares me.
My only resolution to all of this is that our lenses need to be changed. The manner in which we perceive freedom needs to be refined.
I will let you all ponder this with me or disagree in totality.
I am going to leave you with one final thought that may better help my readers to understand any of my disjointed thoughts.
What is more free than being loved and feeling for another. What’s more what is more freeing than acting and living out either of these loves. I challenge you. Tell me.
Is there anything more freeing than to know that you are held tightly in the arms of another. Is there anything more freeing than holding another in your arms and allowing their weight to press heavily against your chest.
The BONDS that hold us to each other. What a paradox…