Freedom Against The Wind; Sailing to Joy and Happiness

The new day has dawned.

Now comes the challenge of deciding what can be done with it. How we will spend today is largely up to us. Sure, there are those who will direct our activities. We have obligations to fulfill. People depend on us to one degree or another and we are accountable. However the goal is not to acquiesce to demands or to please others. The goal is joy and happiness. This might sound a bit self-serving or hedonistic, but it is not. Far from it. All spiritual teachings point us in that direction.

Only that day dawns to which we are awake.
— Henry David Thoreau

So this new day calls for sorting out the inconsequential in order to live more fully toward joy and happiness. Finding the new freedom promised in that endeavor will sometimes feel like fighting against the wind. But ultimately, the same wind will fill our sails and take us to the place we have been seeking all along.

Chris, a lifelong friend of mine sent me an email recently which provided a link to an article called "Claim Freedom" by teacher Evan Mehlenbacher. It was really quite good, and I ended up subscribing to his blog. What caught me a bit off guard though was a comment Chris made about his take on my life's mission. He said that he had been 'thinking of me and my work freeing people'. Over the course of most of the past five decades, I have worked with folks who suffered childhood abuse, trauma, and addictions. The headwinds they faced were sometimes CAT 5 in strength.

At times, I veered away seeking other professions for a break, but always came back to see if I could at least help pack some sandbags. I never considered my work being about freeing people. But I guess that's exactly what I have been called to do. And in the final analysis, it is what each of us must do if we are to reach the goal of joy and happiness.

Richard Rohr has defined the role of freedom as conjoining compassion and mercy. I think this statement is true. For when we have been blessed with freedom, joy, and happiness we have an obligation to give it away to others. It cannot be contained. The only way I know how to extend such freedom, joy and happiness to others is through my shared brokenness and vulnerability. This can only result in subsequent compassion and mercy. We no longer have room for measuring and judgment. Then the new day dawns on a sea of mutuality and interconnectedness and there will always be fair winds following.