Jan 7, 2008

Dear bloggers. Today my entry is long. Do not feel obligated to read it. It is for someone specific anyway.

Today's entry is dedicated to my very special friend. A brother, really. Who began to skip one year ago today. I love you. I'm proud of you.

Once upon a time, in a land not very far from here a little girl went for a walk. She merrily skipped and she merrily hummed and she merrily skipped some more. She looked at the trees and watched the clouds and wondered if there had ever been a more lovely day. In fact, she asked herself “Freedom, have you ever seen a more lovely day?” And then most assuredly she answered her very own question with a “no, I believe I never have.”

Minutes turned into hours and her lunchtime came and went. Freedom grew hungry and pulled her lunch from its home in a brown paper bag. Looking around for a place to sit Freedom found nothing until her eyes landed on a bed of stone – a foundation, really - only a few short skips away. And so she skipped to her new resting spot. Freedom skipped.

What a wonderful lunch she had; even a simple, plain, brown paper bag couldn't hide its goodness. Everything rich and filling and sweet. But also everything nutritious and delicious, all at once. Whoever had packed Freedom’s bag certainly packed it well. Freedom had everything you could ask for.

“Your lunch looks good” she heard him say, and she must admit her heart skipped a beat. Freedom was surprised to find anyone so young out among these woods.

“Would you like something?” She heard herself ask before she could even reason whether or not that was a wise thing to do.
“Yes” he answered quickly, “but I better not.”
Freedom turned to him and noticed a little boy, not much older than her. His hair was a scruffy brown, mop-topped at best. The lightest of freckles dusted his nose and his lips were plump and pink. His corduroy pants were tattered now but had been brand spankin’ new at one time. His little plaid shirt was dirty and sweaty and yet still tucked neatly into his pants. He had the face of an angel, a dirty, sweaty, ball-playin', misbehaving, mischief makin', misfit, little angel. And Freedom loved him right away. Freedom wanted to grab his hands and turn circles with him and show him all the clouds she had named that day.

“Why should you not take a bite of this apple? Or this brownie or this bread?” Freedom asked inquisitively. She could not imagine saying no to such things. “Do they not look good to you?”
“Oh, no. They look delicious. But I cannot feed myself.”
“Well, that is a problem indeed. Why can you not feed yourself?”

“Do you not see that my hands are forced behind my back? They are locked up.”
“Well, what in the world are they locked up for? Who did this to you? Remove them at once.”
“Don’t you think I would remove them if I could? I want that bread so badly. But my hands won’t move. They’ve been like this for so long that I can’t even remember who did this to me.”
“Well, whoever did this to you – are they still here?” Freedom wanted to know what she was up against out here all alone, except for her new friend.
“No, they left long ago.”
“And they just left you out here. Tied up?”
“Yes. And alone. And scared.” And then the misfit angel told her the story of how on a day like this very one he wandered alone into the woods. He had suddenly become surrounded by the tall trees in the Glen of Guilt, the shadows in the Forest of Fear and had become ensnared by the lies near the brook of Unforgiveness.
To Freedom they sounded like horrible, awful places and she wondered why she hadn’t ran into any of those places. Rather, her walk this day seemed unencumbered, unhindered, and absolutely, well, free.

Then he explained that he had been led to this very stone building where they stood. He told her how his hands had been forcefully tied behind his back and chained to the wall; explaining that they had been that way ever since. This was perplexing to Freedom considering this was no stone building at all for there were no walls to speak of; not on any of the four sides. Only a stone foundation.

“May I ask your name?”
“Yes,” he replied so quietly she could barely hear him, “but I don’t remember what it is. I don’t remember what they used to call me.”
“Who? That who used to call you?”
“The people that loved me, those that played with me, clothed me, fed me. I don’t remember what they called me. I only know the name I was given when I came here. And they called me Captive.”
“Well, Captive. I am Freedom. And though I do not mean to intrude, and cannot make you do anything you don’t want to do, I would like to point out to you that you, sweet Captive, are not bound at all. There are no walls here, Captive. Your hand is tied to only one thing – you.”
“But they told me I was tied to down.”
“They lied.”
“But the pushed me. Hard. They held me down and threatened my life if I moved.”
“Well, they lied.”
“Then they held my hands behind my back so that I was powerless. When I tried to escape they just laughed at me. I tried only a few times but every time I did they won. So I believed them. And here I’ve stood.”
“Captive. They lied.”
“But how can this be?”
“Maybe they never assumed Freedom would come into your life. Move your hands sweet, beautiful, Captive. Move your hands.”

And slowly, like a trembling fawn, Captive arose from his lowly position and for the first time in a long time, moved his hands. From behind him to in front of him. From a cuffed position, to an unchained position. And for the first time, in a long time, Captive moved from where he stood and he walked. And slowly but surely he walked up and looked Freedom in the face.

“Freedom, where did you come from?”
“From just over the hills. Look, over there. Past those two huge clouds. That is where I live. I heard you calling me. And so I came. I came for you Captive. I came to bring you back home.”

“But I’ve been gone so long. Have they forgotten me?”
Freedom couldn’t help but giggle at the thought. “Have they forgotten you? Have your forgotten them? Certainly not. And so they haven’t forgotten you. You were held down, Captive. Held back. You were forced. And shamed. And guilted. And so you stood here, immovable, chained and alone. But you are not dead. They may have stopped you. But they did not kill you. They may have beaten you. But they did not break you. And now I am here. And I am taking you home.”

And with that Freedom grabbed the hand, the unchained, unhindered, hand of the most beautiful, misfit angel she had ever seen. His freckles seemed to shine in the sun as they laughed at the clouds and climbed the tall, tall trees. And hand in hand they ran and skipped and sang, Freedom and this boy who would go by a new name now. And Freedom skipped.

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