Friday, July 4, 2014

An Independence Day Prayer

Freedom is a funny thing.  We all want it for ourselves, but we’re a little less keen on it for others.  Truth is, we like to restrict other people's access to activities that bother us.  We’ve even been known to stretch safety concerns to get our way. 

We embody this conflict in our language.  The difference between a “freedom fighter” and a “terrorist” all depends on where you stand.  The party is either “rockin” or “disturbing the peace”, again all based on perception.

It gets pretty mellow and fuzzy when you’re dealing with people one-on-one.  Where is the line between compassionately wrestling self-destructive freedom from someone and anxiously standing around and watching them be freely self-destructive? 

Is freedom really as sacrosanct as our ideology needs it to be?  

In Southern Africa, there is a philosophy of community called Ubuntu.  I would call it a theology.  Roughly translated, it means “I am because We are.”   That would seem to fly in the face of disengaged anxiety that seems to be the response to watching self-destructive freedom.  Uncritically prizing individual freedom over collective freedom the general welfare at higher risk.

I am left feeling that we all we can do is engaged compassion.  The truth is, one person can’t make another person do or think or say anything that’s meaningful or sustainable, no matter their age or physical status.  All you can do is support them, even when they use their freedom to attack themselves.

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