Thursday, February 21, 2008


I have written a few times about choices and freedom, and I just came across this quote in the book The Last Life by Claire Messud.

"It is a terrible thing to be free. Nations know this; churches know this. People, however, seek to skirt the knowledge. They elevate freedom to a Holy Grail, disregarding the truth that constraints are what define us, in life and in language alike: we yearn to be sentenced. When my mother had thrown up the pieces of her youth, she had wanted them, above all, to land in formation, to provide her with a family and a home and the rituals of living. In unhappiness, she had stayed put, because the meaning of her life was there, in its outlines, and the pleasures, or dismays, were merely incidental squiggles in the pattern. Now, in my turn, I clutched a handful of fragments, for the first time uncertain whether they were even mine to hold. (...Had I a home? Had I a history? And if ... I were to suppress these facts, would they become less true?) I was about to throw all to the wind, to see what might land around me; and perhaps I would find myself with nothing at all, in a landscape bare of grass or trees, a landscape in which I, alone... would stand, and begin again, from nothing, to imagine a life."

Add Jesus to this scenario, and I feel she captured my current existence - all the fragments/pieces thrown up, uncertain even which of the pieces are my own, much less where or what will land. After I read this, I found myself wondering if even one piece might land, then perhaps I might follow that... There is great appeal in making a choice like her mother made - just take what lands for the sake of having a clearly defined place - but something has always kept me from doing that. Probably the faith I have held on to that God cares, and the hope that he will put the pieces in place in good time; in the meantime, I guess he's the one component I count on not to change!

Well, I just thought that was beautifully written, worth remembering, worth pointing out that someone else has written about the painfulness of freedom/choices... and I wanted to share with my blog friends what kept me awake last night!


melmietzner said...

Hi katie
I just got a little caught up on your blog. Sounds like you lead an interesting life. I admire you for the work you seek to do and the work you are doing. God bless you and you go girl!! I'll try to keep in better touch since I've been horrendous!

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie; I wanted to drop a note to you, in checking out and appreciating your blog and your faith journey in Christ. I would have to agree about fragmentation and freedom; does freedom not have its own variably attached meanings in postmoderns' minds nowadays?

And from one sociology grad (and nerd!) to another, I also found a book you might like to check out: Ray Hall's "Europe's Population: Toward the Next Century." A bit dated (a large chunk of references to the 'Nineties), but also very timely in some ways, in view of the population shifts going on in Europe. I hope to draw from this book, especially about Germany, in a later article for my blog.

Would you like for me to add you as a friend to my blogroll? No pressure (feel free to say no). Glad to read about your ponderings in life. Hope this finds you well.

From a friend and fellow disciple,

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