Musings on Freedom

Loud noise and parties aren’t my thing, so I stayed home when Steve went to a party today, and I’ve had a delightfully quiet, meditative day.

I’ve done laundry and hung it on the line. It came in smelling so fresh and clean.

I picked black raspberries from the canes in our yard and ended up with purple finger stickiness.

I enjoyed the flowers. They make me smile every time I look at them. 🙂

Marigold, red romaine, calendula, green romaine, lemon thyme

variegated Cuban oregano, curry plant, red romaine, marigold, flat parsley

marigold, red romaine, mosqito releling herb?, red romaine, curled basil

lantana, rosemary, red romaine, Cuban oregano

curled parsley, red romaine, celendula, basil, lime thyme

marigold, tomato, red romaine    lime geranium

Bee balm

I also painted a little, did some writing, and read a bit in the book I started a few days ago, all the while musing on the freedoms that have been won for us by those who fought and died many years ago.

Ironically, the book I happen to be reading is Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup– a true story of freedom lost, when Solomon, a free black man in New York,
was kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery in Louisiana. I haven’t
finished the book, but I know that twelve years later he somehow
regained his freedom.

Reading this is making me mull on how precious freedom is, and how deeply disheartening it is to be in bondage. I don’t know whether slavery was worse for Solomon, who had known freedom and so was fully aware of how unfree he was, or for those who had lived in slavery all their lives and, although well-aware of their enslavement, didn’t have any experiential knowledge of freedom. Both are horrifying to read about and imagine.

That train of thought then leads me to muse on the ways I have become free in my own life– from destructive thoughts and habits, from brokenness, from fears, from the tyranny of sin– and also to wonder in what ways I might still be living in bondage to some of those things without even know what I am missing.

In Galatians 5:1, the apostle Paul states, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Solomon Northup didn’t have a choice; he was forcibly kidnapped, but I do have a choice to stand firm in the freedom that Christ has won for me by his death and resurrection. This evening, as I listen to nearby fireworks celebrating our freedom as a nation, I am also joyfully (but comparatively quietly) giving thanks for the freedom I have received as a gift from Christ and praying that I live as fully in it as he enables me to.

Mid-Hudson Bridge July 2009