Freedom. This word has been in my mind and my heart for a while now. It seems like everything I dream, everything I hear, everything I see centers around it. What is my soul trying to tell me, show me, or teach me?
Each of us have our own definition of freedom because we all have different experiences, and the word takes on a different meaning based on those experiences.
What is freedom to me?
I’ve always felt trapped. As a child I felt helpless and caged in a world of violence unable to escape, unable to run from the pain, a victim of circumstance. About 10, my father once was angry and decided he wanted to break me, so he got this “hickory stick” and tried to beat me into submission. He beat me, but no matter how many times he hit, how much it hurt, I realized for the first time I was free. Every time that stick made contact with my skin I saw my mother cuddled in a corner in submission, or my brothers cowering in their bunks, or myself being held down against my will, and knew no matter if he killed me I was free. He could destroy my body, but he couldn’t touch my soul.
For twenty years I was in an emotionless relationship feeling trapped by responsibility and middle-class morality. I forgot that little girl who stood against her oppressor. But, I wasn’t trapped. I chose my cage. The door was always unlocked. I chose my chains, because I held the key.
What I realize today, but may forget tomorrow, is that I am truly free. I’ve always been free. I will always be free. I am free to choose. Every action I take is my choice, and my choice alone. I can choose to live or die, fight or give up, love or hate, forgive or blame.
We are all free. What we confuse with bondage is the consequences of the choices we make. For every action, there’s an equal or opposite reaction. For every sin, there’s a blood price to be paid. For every choice, there’s a consequence.
I don’t like consequences. I don’t like costs. I don’t like that my freedom has a price. I don’t like that my choices may effect others. But I understand that I am free to choose.
I choose to move. I choose to breathe. I choose to forgive. I choose to hope. I choose to love. I choose to take a chance. I choose to fight. I choose to defend. I choose to deny. I choose the truth. I choose to trust.
My choices may cost me dearly, but knowing I’m free to choose, I can face those consequences. If I’m a choice you make, please make one that won’t hurt me, tear me down, destroy my faith, wound my soul, destroy my dreams, or meant to control or cage me. Your choices have consequences too. Most often our consequences effect others more than ourselves.
I am free. We all are free. If we find ourselves caged or chained, it is also within our freedom to remain so, or to fly.
“I’m not meant to be caged… I’m meant to be free.”
Till next time,