As we shared dinner, the conversation drifted to a recent journey. Even as I look at my words, it seems as though I am describing something that only exists in the past. In reality, it is merely a short chapter in a much larger story where the characters lives weave in and out of the other’s paths.
As he shared the details and I enjoyed the luxury of asking questions, I realized I was handling a gift few experience. It is the gift discovered when one gives her/his story to another. It is something that only happens one on one. It cannot happen in a group. It is never the same when told to another.
We may think numbers give us safety, yet the most important things in life happen one on one. Groups may affirm our freedom but they do not make our decisions. Groups can hold wisdom or evil equally within their grasp. At times, a community can see what an individual cannot. Equally true is the harsh reality when a community acts on the evil within. Examples can be seen from the Sudan to Cambodia, through Germany and on back to a community facing off against a wisdom father. Metaphorically, they act in one accord, from the oldest example moving forward when “over forty of them ritually bound themselves to this murder pact and presented themselves to the high priests and religious leaders.” (Acts 23.13)
We need to listen to the community yet decide within ourselves. We can use insights given us by others to learn. Yet, it is never an excuse to abandon our responsibilities. Freedom means that we are individually accountable.
I listened and found myself under Hope’s instruction. I could see more because of another. Everything appeared through a broader lens.
I sit in the morning light wondering what I will do with my new knowledge. Today is an opportunity to make a difference with what I have been given. Each dawn is different, yet the window is the same. What happens next will measure how I use my freedom.