Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
I have a bird called Apollo. He is yellow like the sun and just as obnoxious at 5 in the morning. He used to have a sister named Artemis. She was white, and the instigator of all shouting matches at bed time and pre-dawn. She died several months ago. She had a quiet burial. By that I mean I walked to the park by myself and threw her into the lake to be devoured by the gar. (I said nice things, and it really wasn’t so much a throw as a gentle toss.) I have, since that time, been looking for a new home for Apollo. It doesn’t seem fair to have him all caged up, by himself most of the time, with only me to talk to and the cat to taunt him.
I posted him on Craig’s list and on facebook. I’ve talked to animal lovers of all kinds and I am running out of options. I decided to set him free.
Now just get off your animal lovers pedestal for a minute while I explain. I set his cage out side. I put plenty of food and water in his dish and just let him get used to being out there with out me, and handling the heat. Yesterday I opened his cage door.
He is still sitting there. As far away from the open door as possible and trembling like there is a lion at the exit waiting to devour him.
All this time I’ve been feeling guilty that he has wings, and no bird friends, and filtered sunlight and treated air.
And now if you know any thing about me, I’m am forced here to make a philosophical comment about freedom.
For the love of God and freedom, what are we still doing here?!?!?!?!?!
I have been listening to preachers and reading books lately on the subject of freedom. As far as I can tell, God has, for his own good pleasure, set me free from the need to be my own savior, and set me free from the vicious cycle of having to satisfy my own base desires, feeling useless because of it and then sinking lower into my own flesh. I have over the last few weeks been overwhelmed by the unending grace of God.
It looks like this.
I grew up knowing that God loved me and wanted good things for me. My faith was housed in a church with plenty of scripture lessons and people who would encourage me (food and water.) Somewhere along the line, I noticed that I had a will, and dreams and ambitions (wings.) It was the unfortunate mistake of misinterpreted scripture that clipped my wings and demanded that I submit to the church building and not the word of God (a cage.) I grew used to it. My big glass view of the world through my safe little window was enough for me. I don’t mind the cool air in summer time and the safety from the elements in the winter. I may not ever know what my wings are for or what it feels like to ride the wind, but at least I know where to find my dinner. I might imagine what the trees feel like or what the rain sounds like but my understanding of these things is at best, filtered.
I’m I getting a little vague? To isolate oneself from the world, is to think only of oneself. My comfort my safety, my food, my job, my family, my things. You may think you are abstaining from sin, really you are ignoring the whole broken beauty and healing pain that defines what it is to be human. Living in your cage is like a numbing agent, you are safe from harm, but you are also safe from joy.
Eventually I came to despise my cage. As I should. Restlessness, a feeling that something was truly missing or wrong came to argue with me in the middle of my nights. What am I living for? Only to follow rules and never step out of bounds? What kind of God is this? So I hated my faith and my life.
You have to understand that God does not interfere with the human free will. The cage door is ALWAYS open. So I flew. And I found that in the world there is no more freedom than in the cage. An over abundance of ways to satisfy your basest desires only creates an animosity to your own self. Too much food = obesity, too much wine = the illusion of joy, dissolved with two tablets of aspirin in the morning. Too much sex = disease, emptiness, loneliness. Too much freedom = chaos, lack of direction, aimlessness. And in the same way you hate a sterilized faith, you will hate the saturated indulgence of the self.
It was never my intention to just get Apollo out of his cage and then not continue to provide for him. I didn’t expect him to just fly away and never come back. He is too dependent on me. His food and water, the safety of his familiar bed will always be there for him, but there is a whole world that he is missing out on because he is afraid. Now it would be a sad use of Apollos freedom if he left the cage and went and terrorized other birds or caused car accidents because he is so bright and he thinks that’s funny. Freedom is not to say that we ought to do what ever we want. Freedom should be used for the glory of the good God who gave it to us. Caring for one another, bearing one another’s burdens, shouldering our load and accomplishing the purpose we were placed on this earth for. Not hiding away and keeping meticulous lists of things we have not done as though that will make God happy that he gave us a will. It’s like Apollo sitting in his cage being pleased that he has never used his wings.
It is only a small piece of Gods love for the whole world that he provides for our needs and wants us to take pleasure in the world that he gave us. It is a huge piece of Gods love that he saved us from the need to be our own god, or to keep to a list of laws.
The cage door is wide open, the invitation is given. Shall we fly?