Monday, June 11, 2007

What is "real freedom"? I was reading a sermon from a couple of weeks ago by Father Sam Lloyd, who is one of my favorite people in the world and who used to be the rector of Trinity Church when I was a soloist there a few years ago. He's now Dean of Washington National Cathedral and I have been in the habit for a while of reading his sermons which are posted on their website. The title of his sermon from May 20, 2007 is Real Freedom. It's a great sermon (as his sermons always are), but it occurred to me that it might also be a great jumping off point for an interesting conversation. What is real freedom? After reading Sam's words, I decided to do a google search to see what some other folks have to say about it.

Here are the first two articles my google search returned:

Inner Freedom is Real Freedom
Real Freedom

When I think of freedom, I often initially think of being alone. When I was a kid, I couldn't wait until everyone was gone and I was alone in the house. I felt a major weight off - a sense of relief - like I was finally free - and if I couldn't find that inside, I would climb the tree in the back yard. I have often associated the word freedom with a lack of responsibility or obligation (as the Beatles said: "Oh that magic feeling - nowhere to go"), but have noticed in more recent years that being alone has lost some of its charm. I think I will always have times when being alone makes me feel great - and free, but I recognize more now that I have a tendency to isolate myself and that doesn't make me feel free at all. I also associate freedom now with being with friends who accept me totally as I am - who like me when I am totally myself (as strange as that may be). I also associate freedom with travelling to new places.

I imagine freedom means very different things to different people. What does the word freedom mean to you? Are you free? What would make you more free?


andre said...

This is a great post Pam. .

Freedom for me is one thing: trying.

Steph said...

Pam, thanks for taking up this topic and linking to that sermon. My husband has been wrestling with crushing bureaucracy at work and we have been really overwhelmed trying to figure out whether or not we should stay where we are, feeling trapped and victimized and all the rest--the sermon you linked to was so what I needed to hear today.

I have faith that there is the possibility of personal freedom in the midst of great injustice. I don't know exactly how people find it, but it's part of why I stay on the planet--to find out. If I didn't believe this, life would just seem like one cruel joke after another. The only way I come close to it is through my spiritual life, but I still have a long, long row to hoe.

(If I sound melodramatic and/or silly, it's because I've had a dramatically bad day and a beer on an empty stomach!)

Jake said...

Great post, Pam, thanks for putting this out there. Freedom is not something I think much of, to be honest. Any political definition devolves instantly into value judgments and moral quibbles that try to balance freedoms against one another, thus limiting them all, and who gets to make those decisions anywho?

Instead of that, I guess I feel free on my bike, on a hike, during kung fu, singing, even working sometimes. It reminds me of something a second grade substitute teacher said once (paraphrased): "You always have a choice, no matter what. Every choice has different consequences, and you may not like the consequences (talking of being sent to the pricipal's office), but that's a choice you can make." Just knowing that I have chosen to be where I am, even if I don't like it, makes me feel free.

Pam said...

Thanks for your responses, y'all! Very interesting!

Sorry to hear you had a bad day yesterday, Steph. :-(