Thursday, October 20, 2011

Too Much Freedom?

Hey everyone. I know it's been a while since I've written anything, and that is why I decided to begin this post with the question: "Is there such a thing as too much freedom?" This is obviously a rhetorical query and I will address the reasons that this has come to mind.
First, I have to ask myself this very question since this blog is voluntary and I have not written in over four months! I'm free to write as often as I'd like to and offer my thoughts on whatever, whenever I am so moved. The truth is, for me anyway, I often get lazy when I don't work under strict guidelines and constraints. I've got the freedom to write...or to not write. Someone once said that if you want something done right away, give the assignment to a busy person. There is some truth to that, isn't there?
This past Spring I had the opportunity to visit some dear folks with very little freedom. Most of you know that I have served on "the inside" as a prison chaplain, so my heart is with the incarcerated. During my time in the Florida Department of Corrections I met some interesting characters. Some of them were inmates too! ;-) For me, it's difficult to invest myself into some one's life and not follow up on that investment. My chapel orderly Carlos (not his real name) is one of those people that I spent a good amount of time and energy helping him to grow in his faith-walk. I also had a family member in the same corrections system and spent some time visiting him on my trip last June.
So, here is my point. Each man that I spent significant time with during my visit has chosen to use whatever freedom they have in their own way. Carlos, a committed (bad pun) Christian, is using his thirty years in prison to teach other male inmates about his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. During my visit I discovered that he is still living a life-behind-bars that is consistent with his faith. I was encouraged. He has taken the minuscule amount of freedom that he still has and uses it wisely. I commend him for that.
On the other hand, my relative has chosen to use his limited freedom to survive in any way that he possibly can, even if that means breaking the rules. He has paid the price dearly for his choices.
Both have freedoms (as do I) when it comes to making decisions, and though mine is substantially more, I believe that Carlos is using his more wisely than I am.
So, do I believe that I have too much freedom? Not at all. But I do have a greater responsibility to use mine more fruitfully and be careful not to take it for granted.
How about you? Are you using your freedoms responsibly? Do you take them for granted? Just checking. I know my recent visit behind bars has made me much more aware of how I use mine.
Until next time. God bless you,

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