you began your life
breaking into the world
naked and needy
as you grew
you developed a curious mix
of freedom and dependence
creativity and exploration
young children express
someone gave you a suitcase
you radiated excitement
because you felt
they told you
there was plenty of space
to put your anger
so you began packing
as you grew
you kept your case with you
filling it with
and relational wounds
year by year
your suitcase grew so heavy
that a child could no more move it
than she could lift a boulder
but over time you adapted
because that is what grown ups do
perhaps you will be one of the lucky few
who finally recognizes
that your suitcase
was not an invitation
to greater freedom
but a millstone
toss it into the ocean
and step once again
And the weaver said, speak to us of Clothes:
And he answered:
Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.
And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment,
For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes we wear.”
And I say, Ay, it was the north wind,
But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Powerful others will try to make me conform and live up to their expectations. I may have to run the risk of being defiant, of standing up to, and of going against powerful others. I am called to stand on my own 2 feet and to develop the ability to say yes or no in making decisions for the emergence of my life. To be seduced from following my path is to be controlled by others, to become a people pleaser, and to be ruled by the tyrannical demands of others. Failure to stand up to others and to assume responsibility for the direction of my life and the promotion of love and light of God’s design for me should engender healthy guilt.–Vincent Bilotta III
An Independence Day reflection on true freedom:
I have been shackled, by the tyranny of sin,
both outward behaviors, and thoughts within.
A slave to my passions, which demanded my soul,
I said “yes” to them; death took its toll.
I felt utterly hopeless, as though choice were a fiction,
The accuser ever whispering, curse and malediction.
But one came along, O’ radiant Light,
his love pierced the darkness, shining so bright.
He silenced the devil and unlocked my chains
released from my prison, no penalty remains.
He looked in my eyes, with love on his face,
“I saved you not by your works, but by my grace.
Now I invite you to come, walk along with me
and never forget, my blood set you free.”
I keep coming back to the questions, “What is freedom?” and “Do I live free?”
I am free.
I am free to tell people how much I value them.
I am free to speak out against injustice.
I am free to give lavishly.
I am free to err on the side of grace.
I am free from needing to demand my rights
or simply from the need to be right.
I am free to serve.
I am free from the need to identify ways in which I am better than others.
I am free from the pressure to perform.
I am free to be goofy.
I am free to like musicals more than football
or painting more than hunting.
I am free to rest.
I am free to take off my mask.
I am free to read from The Message.
I am free to sing at the top of my lungs in the shower
even Air Supply.
I am free to cross the party line.
I am free to drink a cup of coffee
I am free to not know something.
I am free to be curious and creative
I am free to be emotional
I am free to call it like I see it.
I am free to disagree.
I am free to cry at TV shows
even “Anne with an E.”
I am free to color outside the lines.
I am free to hold hands with my kids.
I am free to say no.
I am free to do what I want to do.
I am free.
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.-Galatians 5:1, The Message