I've been seeing this quote on facebook:
“Freedom begins the moment you realize someone else has been writing your story and it's time you took the pen from his hand and started writing it yourself.”
― Bill Moyers
To be honest, I don't know what this means. Is it speaking to the tendency to accept other people's definitions of our own life, and the ability to walk away from those, and to create our own?
The moment you first realize that you are writing your own life is terrifying. That was my experience. It was deeply frightening at first, to realize that I had held all the cards all along.
I remember that moment very particularly. I was attending a Breakthrough seminar, and I was standing in the group, having caught the woman's attention.
The terror I felt just at standing in front of a group of strangers was so intense that it ceased even to feel like terror. There should be another word for that feeling.
She asked me a single question and I don't know if it was because of the terror, but for the first time, I saw the answer nakedly.
I saw that I had created, by my own choices, the life I was living. It wasn't up to anyone else. When I sat down, it was into a different reality.
It still took me years to figure everything out. I still had years of therapy, several no-go relationships and one not-quite-right career ahead of me.
There was so much that I still had to learn and process, but I was awake. I could see what I was doing, and lots of times, I could figure out why. Being awake is freeing. It's better to be terrified by freedom than soothed by one's place in the shuffling line.
Lately, I've been quite literally writing my life. I've been taking memories out of cold storage. It's like taking an empty balloon and filling it with air, and watching as it takes its shape.
Sometimes the shape takes me by surprise. Sometimes I can only write for a few hours, and then I feel like I'm drowning.
I get up from the computer, but I can feel my words following me around. I know exactly what I mean; I know exactly what I must say, and I hate to say it, I'm so terrified of it.
And then, the next day, I sit down savagely and coldly lay it all out, like I was carving all the meat off a dead bird; this and this and this and this, and that is why, I think to myself, in amazement. that is why. No wonder.
And as I do this, day after day, God grows larger, and larger still. All my verses have been illustrating this-
"You are the hope of everyone on earth..."
"Lord, You know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely You will listen to their cries and comfort them.
You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed."
"I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge."
(Psalm 62:5-6, 8)
"I love You, Lord; You are my strength."
Or, as Rohr put it in today's Daily Meditation:
"God has grown accustomed to our small and cowardly ways of waiting behind closed doors of fear and self-doubt. God knows that we settle for easy certitudes instead of Gospel freedom, for a small god instead of a Big Mystery. Yet God seems surely determined to break through.
"The Spirit eventually overcomes the obstacles that we present and surrounds us with enough peace so that we can accept the “wounds in His hands and His side”—which, I hope you know, is really to accept our own."
-Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, day 205, pp.192-193