Saturday, July 9, 2016

FREE AT LAST!--by Linden Malki

I remember as a kid playing with other kids, sooner or later you'd hear somebody yelling "This is a free country!" It was usually in the context of somebody telling somebody what to do or not to do. That seems to be life--somebody is always telling us what to do, or what we can't do. I'm getting a lot of it at the moment; neck deep in a major move. Part of the American Dream is to own your own place. This gives some kinds of freedom, but more and more, it can mean being a slave to the demands of the location, the regulations that determine a lot of how you have to operate, the expense of complying with all those regulations, the taxes and permits and expenses of keeping it up, and I find myself being stuck with a pile of concrete blocks. What we can't control is the exit strategy. We can't control the market forces involved--which have been all over the lot in the past years; we can't control a buyer if and when one appears; the whole process--and expense--of dealing with stuff. Of course this is the time to weed out and throw out stuff, but even that's not easy--the list of regulations on what you can't do or must do is mindboggling.

I'm fortunate to have four kids and two available tall, strong grandsons to help, but they all come complete with advice and suggestions and plans and ideas, mostly different. Just the demands of dealing with years of paperwork is a slavery in itself. Some of it should have been tossed years ago but it was always easier to just push it off somewhere; some of it I can't toss--was told at one point by a bureaucrat to never toss anything with a government's name on it. Today I finally found a box with some important paperwork that disappeared from my desk when my office got painted three years ago. There have been times that I've thought it might be better to just live in a yurt in the woods, but even that has its own limitations and demands.

When I hear people talk about hating their job but can't afford to quit, or hating not being able to find a job, I think about Adam being banished from Eden and sent out to work for a living, Even those who may have a good deal of economic freedom still may have personal or health or family or who knows what other limitations on their lives. We think of political answers to the questions of freedom, but as long as the world is full of human beings, that isn't the final answer.

We hear people talk about being a "free spirit." I was reminded this week of what that truly is. It was refreshing in the midst of the busy life of this world to go to the memorial service for Jim Wheatley--to hear the story of a man who knew God and lived it out, always doing what was needed with a smile. He has found true freedom--free from this world, and free to be the man he was created to be.

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