April 9, 2013. Nate just left for Texas for 2 1/2 weeks to build his mom a house. I’ve been dreading this moment for a couple of weeks now. I didn’t think I changed much after we got married in 2010, but these Nate withdrawals are proving me wrong. Up until now we’ve only been apart for one night.
At first I got to thinking of all the perks. I won’t have to wake up at 3:30 every morning, making coffee and lunch for Nate. I can sleep in every day. I don’t have to go to bed around 7:30 every night. I can eat as much garlic as I want! I can eat all the Asian food my heart desires, no need to compromise about any food choices or movie choices. I can hang out with my girlfriends and have a girl’s night in.
It’s just all me, whatever I want. And doesn’t that sound like freedom? No one to be responsible to but myself?
I think the irony of it all is that I would give up all this so called “freedom” to have Nate come home to me every night, lay by my side when I go to bed, and just know he’s there, even in the background, watching Pawn Stars while I make dinner. Truth be told, I enjoy spoiling this man. I enjoy the responsibilities I’ve willingly taken on as a wife.
I think freedom is overrated, or at least misunderstood when it’s in the context of freedom from responsibilities, freedom from duties, freedom to be your own person with no one else to be accountable too.
I think we actually sometimes get the two backwards, freedom and prison. Sometimes, what you think is freedom, is actually a lonely prison. And sometimes, what you think would feel like prison, is actually where you get more freedom.
Does that make sense?
I think of Denzel Washington in Flight, how as a man throwing away responsibility and giving into the false pretense of freedom- he believed that his freedom was having no one ever stop him from drinking. Doing whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. But in reality, no responsibility, no one to keep him accountable, no one to tell him not to drink, this was actually not freedom, it was his prison, and it was his prison mostly because it isolated him.
In the last part of the movie, after he had been stripped of his pilot license and his alcohol, the TWO things he always thought were most important to him, he actually admits:
“This is going to sound really stupid from a man who’s locked up in prison, but for the first time, I’m free.”
All I’m asking in this article is for us to question what we believe is freedom.
My wise older brother Dee once told me, “Men are like trucks. They drive better with a heavier load.” Or something like that. Anyway, I think it applies to men and women. People. Adults. I think we have this innate need to be needed, not just to be loved by someone, but to be able to display love as well.
And part of this needing to be needed shows up in the form of people, people we are responsible for, people we take care of, duties that pile up on our plates because of the people we love who love us back.
So responsibilities, duties, people who depend on us, people who keep us accountable, these are all keys to our freedom, our real freedom. Sometimes we may think people hinder us from our freedom, but the opposite is true. We need each other, ya know?
And I think of the most famous man who had this whole “freedom” business all wrong. Desperado.
“Freedom? Ohhh freedom. Well that’s just some people talking. Your prison is walking through this world all alone… You better let somebody love you…before it’s too late.”