Thursday, August 15, 2013


We often find a picture of ourselves in animals. At least I do. Ironically, the animal kingdom has a lot to teach us about our own humanity.

 Sometimes its a metaphor for a higher spiritual theme. Others, its something warm and familiar we recognize in the foreign, natural world; something we connect with. Sometimes its glimpse of something pure and lovely-- just enough to shake us up to the idea that there more to life than meets the eye. 

Lately, I've been ruminating on the concept of "freedom." I watch videos of whales in the wild, moving, as if in slow motion, in and out of the green liquid landscapes. Their fins tower out of the water like black sails, then disappear beneath the surface. A young one will pop out beside its mother, then like peek-a-boo, appear on her other side. They move together, as if to some rhythm only they can hear. Their might and grace are perfectly balanced, their delight hangs so heavy in the air around them you can almost see it's shine. Even though I'm only looking at a computer screen, I get chills seeing them free- I get an ache in my gut wishing they all were.

Any time I think about freedom I draw parallels to my spiritual experiences. My faith has a lot to do with freedom. The whole idea is being set free from guilt, fear, and emptiness-- free to experience the fullness of joy in God. Part of my soul reacts to the idea of setting Gods creatures free. We all recognize that there is something innately good about "the captive being set free." That's true of mankind, of cetaceans, of myself. I want to see creatures that were born free swimming with no walls dividing them. But I also want freedom in my own heart.

I think part of the key is to value freedom. 

True freedom. I'm not talking about the cheap idea of "freedom" so many people mistakenly hold: that is, to do whatever you want, without moral bounds, even to your own determent, regardless of whether you're correct or incorrect in your thinking. Those, really, are chains disguised as freedom, and I have no interest in that.

I want freedom that no one can take from me. Down to my bones. In my soul. I want peace that doesn't depend on shifting circumstances. I want to swim deep, to drink it all in, to laugh like a ransomed prisoner.

My dad calls me "little lioness." I'm not sure how insulted I should be by that, but I kind of like it. He means that I'm strong willed and passionate, and when an injustice gets my attention, you're going to hear about it. But there's another animal I've been listening to, hoping to learn from, who may help me calm my restlessness.

I wrote this in a journal sometime last week. 

Little lioness, with hot breath roaring,
and thunder in your belly, swelling,
You bare the wet and ivory daggers
 for the justice of your cause
 In the heat, in the red of the kill, you’re panting,
Longing for water.
Quiet the swell and turn your head
Be for a moment like the whale,
Who is at once fierce and wise.
She plunges the depths in song, unthreatened, unafraid.
She knows her might, and chooses gentleness.
She owns nothing, wants for nothing
Her riches are her joy
She is never alone, never threatened
For all other creatures are lower than she.
For the endlessness available to her,
For her birthright to roam, unhedged,
For the uninterrupted wonder she is woven into,
She sings
She praises, she glories-- by her very being-- by her enjoyment of breath, and by her nature--
For this she was made, for this she lives, unquestioning and purposeful
If you have been made free,
Be free
Sing, rejoice! Swim in the depths unburdened
Share amongst the others what is delightful and right.
Be immersed in the divinity of your purpose,
For what you have been granted is good.
 You are plunged into the water
Born, reborn

No comments:

Post a Comment