Skip to main content

where I come from

It is interesting being back in the place where I grew up. While there are a lot of positive memories here, there are also some dark ones, and I was surprised to have a few of them surface on this trip back to the prairies. One of my responses was to get annoyed at the small town dynamic and the restrictive nature of this whole place. And then I realised that freedom is never an external issue: it is a battle that is won or lost in my own soul. The fact that this place could call to life feelings of disappointment that made me want to leave town was not primarily an indication of the shortcomings of said community, but a sign that I was not truly free inside. Freedom is free anywhere! That's its nature.

So I went to the only place that always shows me a way out of my every predicament: the place of surrender. I told God that I was willing to let go all the disappointment (legitimate and illegitimate), forgive all the misunderstandings, and release all the idealistic expectations and comparative standards that I had placed on this growing-up place. And I was willing to let him search my heart for whatever was still harbouring resentment, unforgiveness, pride, and whatever other black holes might be draining love, grace, courage, thankfulness, and freedom from my life. I had done this before, but I needed to do it again.

That's the thing about freedom. It is not a one-time medal that I win and it's done (Jesus did that part); it is a place that I have to consciously go to and habitate every day - sometimes fighting off wild wolves of anger or envy that snap their sharp teeth at me, sometimes just planting my butt in the centre of the big chair of peace and refusing to let it be torn from underneath me by all the hurricanes that blow through.

Like flying, freedom cannot be grasped, but it is always as close as letting go. It is also as easily lost as hauling myself back into the safety of the nest when I should be out there catching a cold updraft of air. I choose freedom. Every day. Every hour. Bumpy as the ride may be, it is still freedom. And I LOVE FREEDOM!
This is a photo I took of the unsettled sky over the prairie landscape on Thursday night.

Comments

Yreit said…
Nice to hear you associate freedom and surrender with the place you come from. Nice perspective to have, and something one has to learn, it seems, again and again.

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

building the church

Imagine two scenarios: 1) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Ask them to come together and put their sticks onto a table. Invariably, you end up with a random pile of sticks on a table. 2) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Show a picture of a popsicle stick bird feeder and ask people to come together and put their sticks on a table according to the picture. You will end up with the beginnings of a bird feeder on a table.

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In both, each person brought what they had and contributed it to the collective. However, in the first scenario, there were no guidelines, no plan, and no right or wrong way to pile the sticks. People came, placed their sticks on the table, and walked away. In the second scenario, people were given a plan to follow and as a result, something specific was built. Instead of walking away after they made their contribution, people huddled around the table to watch what was being built. Some were…