The Horrible Weight of Freedom
|photo by aparejador- Used under CC licence|
Sometimes when I'm hurtling down the freeway at 70 miles an hour, all 4 children tucked into seats in the back and the road curves slightly and I feel the tug of inertia against the change in direction I wonder at the fact that we are given so much power. It only takes a slip, a small lapse in judgement, and all that steel and flesh becomes a mangled mess on the asphalt.
Why should I be trusted with that? What if I make a mistake?
What if someone else makes a mistake?
Are humans really supposed to go this fast? How did speeds like this go from something only daredevils attempted to something housewives do every day, while mediating arguments in the back seat and doling out snacks to keep the short people from screaming?
On the freeway there are no guarantees. I know how frail I am. I fell asleep at the wheel once. I woke up screaming.
Sure we have to take a test, demonstrate we know the rules, that we can see far enough to navigate the terrain. We get on that road every day trusting that the drivers nearby also know how to control their vehicle and will follow the rules. But that doesn't stop the person who had too many to drink at a party from getting in their car anyway. It doesn't stop someone who isn't even in the DMV system and can't read the signs in English from getting in their car everyday and driving somewhere too. It doesn't stop someone from making a slight misjudgement in a moment of fatigue that ends in disaster.
Why aren't we all terrified to drive?
Come to think of it, why aren't we all terrified to live?
Think of the power we have with these lives of ours. Think of how our words and our actions can leave such an imprint in the lives of the people we travel alongside. Think how a moment, a single choice, can change everything. Whose idea was it to trust us with so much power, with so much freedom to do with it as we will?
Why is there no test before we can raise children like there is to be able to strap them into a steel and rubber contraption and go at what were unimaginable speeds a century ago?
There are people who like to read their Bible to say that God micromanages every tiny detail. That just makes no sense to me. But I think they want to believe it because it's less terrifying than the alternative.
If God micromanages the universe then I can fall asleep at the wheel. I don't have to figure out what to do with the incredible, terrifying, beautiful life that I have been given.
I don't have to take responsibility for my actions because it was God's will.
I think it's a cop out, and lazy theology.
That said, how do we get up and live everyday without being terrified of the outcome?
What do we trust in God for, if it's not to take the wheel, and with it all responsibility?
I'm working out how to tell you my story over the next little while. Because I do believe that we don't have to be afraid.