Freedom. What is it? It is the ability to choose according to self. It is the ability to move without force. It is the ability to think and speak truthfully without fear. It is the ability to be. Just be. And not be inhibited by another.
There was a time when freedom was a foreign word. I was a woman in chains. And today I praise God twice over, for my freedom, and for my newfound strength.
Years of abuse, and I finally made the move to pack up my children and leave. It was not that simple. Though my actions could have made me a free woman, my heart and mind did not. Remnants of the past haunted me, kept me tied. Some days I would praise God for saving me from a life that would surely kill me. Some days I would curse God for taking away all I felt I knew anymore. I was lost. I was a shell. I was dead.
Over the last two years, I have been regaining my freedom. I have realized that I am not an owned woman. I am myself. And I am in charge of myself. The guilt I would feel for feeling certain things, or doing certain things started to subside when I was able to convince my mind of the truth. He did not own me. Anger took its place when I realized he really never did. At least, he did not have that right, and I had believed he did.
Fast forward to today. I am a new person. I am me. And I like me. But I still hold some ghosts of the past. And now I am taking the necessary measures to be free of the past forever. And it’s not comfortable, though the thoughts of the resulted future, free from a tyrant, keep me going full force. And I am realizing that it is time to stop worrying about others before myself and my family, when myself and my family should be my BIGGEST concern.
In the Bible, the story of Noah’s Ark is told. And we all remember the story we were told as children. Animals were brought to the boat in pairs. The boat was sealed shut with the animals, Noah, his family and their families. Together they floated on a never-ending ocean of flood for 40 days and 40 nights. When it had stopped raining for a while, they sent out a dove who finally found land. Then God sent a rainbow to the earth as a promise of never flooding the earth again.
As a child, I remember thinking how horrible and boring it must have been to be cooped up that long. I wondered how the animals behaved themselves, even how they went the bathroom. How did Noah’s family eat, and how did Noah keep the animals from eating each other? My thoughts were with Noah, the Ark, and all its inhabitants, through their journey to their freedom when new land was discovered when the dove did not return.
But what of the rest of the world?
The story is told a little differently when you think of it in the outsiders’ position. What of these people, the same who had mocked him? They drowned to death. How did Noah feel when he heard the cries outside, the pleading to let them in? How did he feel as he heard them suffer and die? Did it haunt him? How could he let them all suffer that way while he and his family were safe from harm? Why did he not open the Ark and let in as many people as he could?
He couldn’t. This was God’s command. Imagine if he had opened the Ark, disobeying God. The boat would be swarmed. Crime would fill the boat, possibly through murder, rape, slaughter of animals. The very thing that God was washing away would still remain after the flood. And God’s will would be undone. No, when we hear the story of Noah’s Ark, we concern ourselves with the will of God, and what the result was. And it is understood why the outsiders were left behind, for we get to see the end result.
This has become my realization in my own life. I must forget the outsiders’ plight. I must save myself so I can save my family for the better good, keeping my children safe from the very harm I escaped two years ago. I must make sure that my life will not be repeated through them, and that the very lifestyle I am protecting them from is not deemed normal. These are my only concerns through my freedom that I am becoming more and more acquainted with every day. If I try to save the outsiders, I will end up drowning as they pull me under. So I am moving ever forward, toward a future I long for with no hint of the past, and I will not look back any longer. My words are not meek. My actions are with purpose, my heart in the right place, my mind more sound than ever. In this, I praise God for my newfound strength, what He gave me when I realized the fullness of my freedom.