“So bound in selfishness am I, so chained,
I know it must be glorious to be free
But know not what, full-fraught, the word doth mean.
By loss on loss I have severely gained
Wisdom enough my slavery to see;
But liberty, pure, absolute, serene,
No freëst-visioned slave has ever seen.”
George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul
How interesting that the things we feel are chains that bind are often our very gateways to freedom… Why is it always said we must die to live? And that he that would rule many must first learn to serve? Any kind of self discipline is like this. The process of the discipline is hard, and often we don’t see the good fruits of our labors for years after. But once we are there at the end of the day, with our labors so laid out we can see them in hindsight, our heart finds peace and joy at the wonderful outcome of our long labors.
Conversely, some of the things we hardly feel as binding at all, but really appear to us as “freedoms,” grow up stealthily from the tiny threads of whim, to chains of steel about our necks- chains that would choke out the very life and spirit of our own souls. And these we do not hardly recognize at first sight, and in the end once their weight is felt, we are drugged so by their poison that we cannot hardly even rouse ourselves to seek deliverance.
It is truly said that things are not always as they appear, and some deeper sight is necessary to finding the truth in life, and the joy of existence.