Relishing freedom

Today my friend and I had a socially distanced picnic on the front lawn of the church behind my house because this is something that is still permitted and it’s worthwhile to relish the opportunities we do have amidst the circumscription of our freedom.

After all, our freedom will always be circumscribed in certain ways and knowing and living the limits of it is precisely how we fulfill it.

Many times people limit themselves more than they are limited in fact.

Today I’m recalling these words from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Wind, Sand, and Stars:

And these human relations must be created. One must go through an apprenticeship to learn the job. Games and risk are a help here. When we exchange manly handshakes, compete in races, join together to save one of us who is in trouble, cry aloud for help in the hour of danger—only then do we learn that we are not alone on earth.

Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something moulded. These prison walls that this age of trade has built up round us, we can break down. We can still run free, call to our comrades, and marvel to hear once more in response to our call, the pathetic chant of the human voice.

No matter the circumstances of life, we must as Rilke says “hold to the difficult”, be prepared to create these human relations, and mould meaning out of life. And if only were are, again as Rilke puts it, “poet enough to call forth life’s riches”, then no factual limits to our freedom will stifle the ultimate human freedom that is less something we possess and more something to which we rise.