By Rev. Kurt Condra
“Freedom is not given to us by anyone," writes Thich Naht Hanh, Buddhist monk and peace activist. "We have to cultivate it ourselves."
I don’t entirely agree. Yes, we have our own work to do. But I also don't believe it’s possible to do deep spiritual work alone. Friends with a shared intention to know God more deeply offer a precious perspective that comforts through difficulties, celebrates achievements, and can lovingly reflect back what is ripe for transforming.
A woman who worked very hard to free herself of attachments recently paid off her car loan. The very same week, a can of orange marker paint – the fluorescent stuff used to stripe roads – fell off a truck she was following...Let’s just say she got a free custom paint job. The experience revealed she’s not as free from attachment to outer appearances as she thought.
You know what, though? As she told the story to prayer partners, her perspective shifted because everyone had a similar tale of overestimated non-attachment. The room soon rang with the healing sound of laughter.
Perhaps part of cultivating freedom involves freeing ourselves to trust…in the infinite power of the universe to restore and renew, in the love and support of those with like mind, and in the divine potential of our spiritual identity – even in throes of life's messiest splatters.