You are not free. You think you are, but you are not. It’s time for you to wake up and to come alive, because surviving is not living and you’ve been waiting to die for too long. You can remain in ignorant bliss or willful denial of the state that you are in for a little longer now, but one day you will get out of bed and go to the mirror and see right through yourself to the faded gray on the wall behind you, because you are hollow and you’ve finally worn too thin. The walls you built around your heart aren’t enough to keep you safe anymore because there is nothing real inside for them to protect.
You need help, but now the barricades you’ve built are too high and you can’t escape yourself to get help from the outside. You can see the strings that move your heavy hollow shell but now they feel stronger and heavier than chains. Your paint is chipping off and the cracks in your mask are showing. You live in an ugly cage of your own creation. You don’t think you live in captivity, but that is because you were a prisoner from the day you were conceived. How would you know the difference?
Surrounded by a cage of flesh, you grew in the dark. Then you were torn from it. Even the day of your birth did not mark the day you were dragged, screaming and bloody, into freedom. Instead it marked the instant when the slave met its new masters. Innocent child meet confusion, desire, morality, mortality. These are the rules. You will follow them. They have been in your head from the very beginning.
You have been fed your parent’s perspectives, your school’s definitions, your friend’s opinions, and your society’s values. If you are what you eat, I would venture to say that many of your thoughts are not original and your beliefs are not your own. Do you know who you are? Maybe you are a stranger even to yourself.
As you watch, the solid ground will disappear from beneath your feet and you will slip into the unknown. This uncertainty is terrifying, and as you begin to question your perspective on reality you will find yourself further out of your comfort zone than ever before. Lost, confused, and alone you can meet yourself, face to face, for the first time. Together, journey out of the chaos and into the contrast. The light will expose the emptiness and the darkest, most twisted parts within you. It will open your eyes to the world around you. It will show you the chains you have been wearing your entire life. If gravity is this force that attracts our bodies to the center of the earth, then it is quite literally the shackles keeping our feet on the ground and putting the weight of the world on our shoulders. You can see it now. You can’t ignore it anymore.
It is time to escape gravity.
The minute you stir from your sleep and rattle the chains that bind you, the world will notice. You are becoming something different. Something new. They are afraid. The pressure to conform will begin pounding you back into the mold again and again as society tries to shape you according to its will.
You will be pulled in every direction by the influences and idols that rule over so many. You will be tempted to find your identity in anything and everything but do not let yourself be defined by their labels. You cannot be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2).
Teach yourself how to think your own thoughts. Seek the truth and ask others to see it too. People will tell you that you think too much, and they might mean to hurt you, but really they are just reminding you that there is nothing wrong with you. After all, to think is to be alive. Along with newfound wisdom will come sorrows because you are no longer ignorant to sickness in the world around you. People will see you feeling things more deeply and tell you to grow a thicker skin, but do you really want to be made of wood anymore? So many are in chains, but do not let yourself drown in the sorrow that you see. Don’t let it be a reason for you to submit to the will of the world and fall back asleep under the weight of gravity.
Open your eyes to the pain and do not look away in fear, because until you see the harsher realities you can do nothing to change them. Is it too much? Is it breaking you? You are up and fighting now but gravity is crushing the life out of you still. Your strength is faltering. You cannot bear the weight of the world.
But child, why are you fighting for your life? The battle for you has already been won. It ended with a man broken, bleeding and nailed to a cross. Before there was light and life, there was death.
The lamb of the God dying with his arms stretched wide enough to balance the weight of the world on his own shoulders. It crushed him, but in dying, he conquered death. As he tore the veil he offered to tear us free of our bonds and he showed us how to stand without them. His blood spilled as an act of love, true enough to give eternal victory to all who ask for it. You need only to look up and let the light flood into your eyes for the first time.
Christ is that light. He is the freedom screaming into your itching ears. He interceded and bore gravity for you. He is the answer to your questioning and in him you can finally find your identity. He showed us how to live because he truly was alive. If only you would surrender. What are you holding onto at the cost of pure joy and life? Let go and rejoice.
The walls have fallen down. You are a new creation bursting with the colors of God who is love, hope, peace and life. Masks are no more. It is your job to show love to this broken world. Humanity will still attack you but they cannot break you because you are not theirs anymore. Your eyes are fixed on the Author and Perfector of your faith and they cannot touch you as you go from deep to deeper.
Let your life be the proof of God’s love. Love liberally and let your heart break for the ones you love. Cross oceans for the people who wouldn’t cross a puddle for you. Wake others from their sleep. Guide them to the cross and God will break down every barricade they have built in order to survive and send them tumbling into life. Eternally. Gravity is no more. We can set the prisoners free. Rejoice, and rejoice greatly.
Cardinal is a freshman at PLNU.