by Frank Muller
Our lives are in part a story of suffering and redemption. Through the struggles of learning how to walk, we stumble and fall, cry and are consoled. Yet, we rise again to struggle into the loving and cheering arms of our family.
We learn to ride a bike, first with training wheels, as we learn to trust that the wheels are the source of our freedom and our protection. We are not yet fully free, but we can taste the allure of sweet mobility.
Then, one or prayerfully both of our parents, encourage us to take those training wheels off and prepare to metaphorically fly. First, of course so long as one of those parents is holding us steady.
Just like learning to walk, fear of someone letting go. Fear of losing that elusive sense of balance. And yes, sometimes the parents do not hold on long enough and that feeling of falling or not able to stop overcomes our brief moment of flight.
Eventually, we turn that fear and yes, the occasional falls; into victory powered by the force of our parents love and guidance as they start the process of freeing us from the confines of infanthood and to learn the next skill in a life of learning ever more important and ever more vital skills.
I turn this parable to an audio book by a fellow Texan and Longhorn.
First off, green lights should be heard – not read. To hear a man with his skill in mimicry tell in his own voice his own story is truly a blessing. By the way, hint to us all that we should tell these “love “stories of our lives for the benefit of our families and friends.
Full disclosure, this book is not for the sensitive ear. Mr. McConnaughy uses profanity liberally and his exploits are well …. R rated. So, if these things offend your ear you may want to pass but my encouragement is not to judge the sinner but to see how freely this sinner confesses his sins and rejoices in the freedom of redemption and clarity of purpose.
To understand how all of us need to bear our souls. We all have a need to unify the inner self with the outer self. That is, the life we lead inside our minds and hearts is EXACTLY the life we should lead in the world. This is the true freedom of being alive. It is freedom from the hypocrisy that haunts us all, including myself.
When we begin to unify our inward and outward selves by striving for the Truth and accepting our past and embracing our future – it is then we start to free ourselves from the things that enslave us.
That truth about us, and that Truth about life and existence is available starting in the confessional. Why is this important to pay attention to? All of us need a confessional. Whether it be a dear and trusted friend, a counselor or whomever it is vital. For me, the Catholic confessional is a place of absolute joy. It is here under a sacramental bond that a priest is willing to give up his life so that you can gain yours. By hearing and bearing with Grace and by forgiveness we begin the process of becoming free.
It is in the confessional that by definition we can verbalize those hidden truths of our lives with another person. Thus, the inward and outward self begins to move towards one another. Yes, confessing to God in the privacy of our own thoughts is a good thing but we are physical beings comprised of a body and soul. It is the humanity that needs to find a place of peace that inevitably begins to lay bare its’ weaknesses and challenges in order to rise above them.
God’s Grace is found not only in prayer but powerfully in the confessional. Most psychoanalyst’s and psychologists will tell us that their primary job is to get people to speak the truth of our lives to another trusted person. This bearing (or stumbling) of our souls begins to unify us through the power of forgiveness and this leads to the greatest kind of freedom which is unity of life. It is the freedom to know oneself and to thy own self be true.
This book is a wonderful insight into a human being seeking Truth, acknowledging God’s Grace, sure of his own free will to persevere in the pursuit of that Truth no matter the struggles, stumbles, stupidity or sheer dumb luck we encounter in that pursuit.
Further, getting out of our prison and becoming quiet (and lost) in order to find oneself is vital. Find a monastery, a retreat center, a mountainside, a lake and get comfortable with silence. Leave the phone and the world behind and eventually you will meet your true self and we can say hello, nice to meet you. Interestingly, when you look for yourself in this way along the way you will meet your Creator. Green lights.
The most terrifying thing for most of us is stone cold silence. We are enslaved to tweets, posts, podcasts, movies, work, narcissism and a whole host of seductive jail keepers. Facing that fear now while we are still alive is the most important thing we can do. It is only in life that we can become free from real death. Real death is not the death of a body but the loss of oneself because we did not ever try to know ourselves, why we are here, and what the purpose to this brief existence is.
Conquering the fear of death means conquering the fear of actually living. We are surrounded by a company of witnesses daily who sacrifice themselves for others because they know how to live. Green lights. Seek and follow their example. Often times they are sitting in a confessional waiting for us.
May we all seek out respite on the mountainside or in the desert. Go for many days, weeks, months or years until you find yourself. There is no more important journey in our lives. Get off the training wheels and free yourself to learn, love and live.
Peace be with us all.
PS This meditation is written today in honor of my father-in-law, Charles Wayne Jones. A man who learned to see Green Lights in his life and for that I am grateful.