I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of freedom recently. As with so many things, different people seem to use different definitions of freedom and this complicates our collective conversations. I am not going to try to persuade anyone about the right definition of freedom. With that said, I want to highlight a few reflections on freedom that I find helpful in our present time.
David Foster Wallace, American writer and essayist, began his commencement address to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005 with this well known story about fish: One fish says to the other, “So, how’s the water?” The other replied, “What’s water?” The insight and brilliance of this story lies parallel to my experience in Ghana over the past few months. Just as the eyes of a fish are opened to the realities of the world by their experiences—say being caught on a fishing line—my eyes have been opened, my awareness of important issues has been deepened, and my appreciation for other cultures, namely Ghanaian culture, has grown. This has been a time for me to prune away the unnecessary and to add the required aspects of life. I have been challenged to move beyond my simple assumptions of how the world works and have developed a fuller understanding of reality. It turns out the world is much more complicated and nuanced than I ever could have dreamed. Through all this learning I have been humbled. I am smaller and more insignificant than I previously believed. Through all this however, God has ordained and designed this time in my life specifically for me to train and prepare me for a life dedicated to service for the purpose of building His Kingdom.