Freedom Works. Some Thoughts On Slavery.
by Major Danielle
I’ve been thinking about freedom for a long
External freedom is one thing. It’s
important. For anyone who has ever been a captive will
understand that to be externally free is of utmost importance.
The thing is though, that captivity and oppression are not
just about external things. There are internal things that
happen: things that shift places deep inside of us. Things we
learn to survive and to help us through that served us for a
while but now keep us enslaved.
So, how does freedom work exactly? Not just
the obvious freedom of a captive whose door gets unlocked and
they can simply leave. Recently I watched Hector’s pursuit of
happiness where he is help a prisoner by African drug lords
and then gets released. The scene is him slowly walking away,
like he’s afraid any moment someone is going to shoot him
dead, to him realizing he’s been released and he begins to run
and laugh and shout and dance and run and it’s all just so
flipping exhilarating. He writes in his happiness journal that
true happiness is freedom. And he’s right.
My friend Hanna told me about being trapped
in a pedophile ring for her childhood. Being forced to do
unmentionable things – all. The. Time. That’s called slavery.
That’s a real prison. The thing is she’s been free from that
captivity for years and years and years but she still
struggles with freedom. Being free on the outside has to be
matched with being free on the inside. And how do we do that
The Israelites walked around a desert for
forty years after they were ‘free’ from the oppression of the
Egyptians but none of them seemed to think it was much of a
‘freedom dance’ they were doing. Commentaries suggest that the
forty years was about getting freedom from the outside to the
inside of them. Does it take that long?
Hanna would agree, I think, with Nelson
Mandela, and the people of God that the road to freedom is a
long walk. Those of us who want simple, shallow answers to
complex truths (like almost everyone born) seem to think that
the day Mandela was released from jail is what made him free.
But you’d be wrong about that. By his own admission freedom
started much sooner than that and also took much longer. What
does that mean?
It means that freedom is much more
complicated. It’s about our external lives, for sure. It’s
about our internal lives for sure. But it’s even more than
that. It’s about these parts of us being united together and
contributing to the world around us. It’s about living a
different way – from the inside out.
I want to live that way. But the truth is
that it’s a hard way to live. The truth is that slavery exists
in each of us. That freedom is elusive and difficult, and
complicated. That the road to freedom is hard and long. That
to be truly free means to face truth and accept it and to be
authentic and vulnerable and open – and that is just simply
To be free is to abandon yourself to a
greater being who knows you better than you know yourself. If
that’s how freedom works then why not start today?