“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” Not quite. Freedom is the ability to choose. It’s having a choice. Being aware of that choice. Beholding that choice. Respecting that choice. That’s freedom, both duty and delight.
Too often we have let addicts define freedom. Really. Normally those who talk about and flaunt their freedom have the least. The addict at first, of course, is escaping all the trappings of everyday life in favor of much more heightened existence.
At first they may experience a sense of being “freed” from responsibilities. That escape is certainly intoxicating. The illusion comes next. Because it doesn’t lead to anything. It makes an end out of getting back to that intoxicating feeling of escape.
That’s where freedom ends. At that point, no matter what language they use or how passionate an addict might argue, they are least free. They have exchanged the immovable responsibility of their freedom for the cheap thrill of escape.
Soon an addict is faced with the choice to humbly confess they were wrong OR ride out their skewed view of freedom. One leads to life. The other to death. Many addicts have died for their “freedom.” They suffered its ultimate consequence.
That brings us again to the reality that decisions bear consequences that we simply can not shake. Each decision in one sense limits our sphere of consequence. Inevitably as we make decisions our world gets smaller. For a time, very small.
Quite easily it can feel we are “trapped” by the decisions we made. We are “stuck” living within their consequence. But that is the gift of humility. What we find at the end of the narrow path is a gate to a very wide open field.
What we thought were shackles are actually harnesses pulling us into another adventure. This is freedom. What we thought were limitations are only bumper rails in the line. This is life. Only here at the end of fidelity does such freedom really exist.
So we press on. We keep moving. One right step in front of the other. Doing our best to know the wind. But we can’t. And we don’t. So our lives will remain rife with mystery. We will at times not even know what we love.
Our attempts to analyze the human heart and its passions must be taken with a grain of salt. Who can really know the heart? It is a deep, mysterious well. It gives us vague clues at times, and other ones slaps us across the face.
It is the gift of life itself that we are celebrating here. It is a precious, almost fragile gift. It is not breakable but it is losable. We can misplace our heart and soon we have lost our way. Finding life and appreciating the gifts it brings is essential.
For this breath I am just now taking I give thanks. I am reverent to this holy moment, the miraculous phenomena called breathing. For now I am animated with spirit. For now I must participate. For now I must live. God help us all. Please.