Sometimes we have days or weeks when the hardness or complexity of life socks us in the gut and pries open our minds and hearts. This was one of those weeks for me with the collision of my children getting quite ill, learning of the death of a too-young good woman, and reflecting on the story and image of a father and his two-year-old who drown in the Rio Grande, looking for life.
My reaction to encountering these realities was frustration, bordering on irritation, with how much time we (myself included) spend on things that don’t matter. How many hours do we spend day-dreaming about things we don’t have; how many conversations are spent speaking judgingly or enviously of others; how much time dedicated toward self-improvement for the sake of feeling good about ourselves and fulfilling only own our needs; how much money put toward accumulation of things that will give us only momentary delight.
I am not saying that we should not enjoy life, because certainly, life is meant to be enjoyed. Why else would God give us each other, the absurd generosity and beauty of creation, the ability to make delicious food, the creativity to make music and write.
But, here is my question- How much of what we do really contributes to life-giving freedom, and how much of what we do enslaves us to all that the world wants us to believe will make us feel free?
In the first reading today (Gal 5: 1, 13-18), Saint Paul says, “For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love.”
How often do I use my free will for things that actually make me free? True freedom is choosing the good. Choosing that which brings us into closer and more loving relationship with ourselves, each other, and God.
And how often do I use my free will ways that enslave me to my insecurities and temporary things? How often do I use my free will in ways that inhibit true intimacy in relationships, and lead me away from the source of Life and Love?
On the night of our rehearsal dinner, my father-in-law gave a speech wherein he told Ian and me to “keep the main thing the main thing.” I don’t know if he expected it to stick as much as it did, but “keep the main thing the main thing” has became a family motto of sorts. It is simple, but it speaks truth to how to rightly orient our hearts, minds, and bodies. It speaks truth to how to answer God’s call to freedom.
What is your main thing, and how central are you keeping it in the way that you live?