Sunday, November 21, 2010

Freedom from fear

What is freedom?

Freedom is a place that seems to be the opposite of fear. And by definition, of course, freedom will mean different things to different people.

Freedom is often described in terms of absence: Freedom is the absence of present tyranny, barriers, threats, debt or other restrictions, or it is moving beyond the past to a promising future.

But freedom is more than a void; it is what fills the void: The actions, the peace of mind, enabled by the removal of those barriers.

Freedom is also, joyfully, an absence of fear — more accurately, of course, a willingness not to allow fear to be yet another barrier.

Make no mistake, fear is real — but you can decide not to be controlled by your fear. You can refuse to be afraid. It’s a little scary — but it’s a sound decision.

I am inspired by the attitude of our golden retriever puppy. When she is unfettered, Willow is a thing of beauty as she runs. She will run as fast and as far and as long as she can, or until I call her name and she comes running back.

Ideally we are limited only by others; ideally the only limit to our freedom is that nothing we do will limit others’ freedom.

“Fear not” and “be free” are nearly the same command. Refuse to be afraid — dare to be free — these are bold decisions.

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