Animal Stories - Freedom
I have often received remarks about a canary that I keep at home. It is a female and, therefore, does not utter the melodious song that its male counterparts let forth. The question that invariably is put to me, in consequence, is….”Why bother to keep this canary at all?”
I have often reflected upon this question, and I must admit that it puzzled me…. until one day I reflected upon the meaning that bird had in my life.
One day I was looking out of the window at the spot where the caged canary was hanging out in the yard. Whilst I was looking, I noticed that a number of swallows were flying continuously up and down to where the cage was hanging, and nibbling at the birdseed that had fallen on the ground.
I couldn’t help pitying the poor caged bird. The swallows were free to fly up and about at will, whereas the canary was imprisoned within the confines of its cage!
This picture in many ways reflected an image of our life. The canary had all the “security” it needed, ample food, regular cleaning of its cage, a constant supply of water, a regular morning bath, shelter from the elements, caring attention etc. etc…but no freedom. It was confined to the limits imposed by its cage.
On the contrary, the swallows enjoyed practically no security whatever. They had to search daily for food and water, seek shelter at night, from rain, cold and sun….but they could fly…fly freely.
That is exactly man’s situation. The more “security” he has, house, job, money, investments, family… the more he is tied down, limited, anxious…the less a man has, the freer he is, less worry about losing his possessions, about being robbed, about moving on….about dying.
The more you have, the more attachments you have….the more you feel secure and the less inclined to move on. The more afraid of “losing” out.
Come to think of it, when I was young I felt freer than I do nowadays. I had no house, no job, no money, no wife, no children, no possessions, so I felt free to do whatever I felt like doing….just like the swallows. Today I have all those things and I feel tied down, mostly I feel afraid of moving on, of death, of losing…
How right St Francis was! You will only be able to truly love when you have nothing. When you are not attached to anything. When you do not need to be afraid of having something taken away from you. When you have nothing to defend.
What wisdom are to be found in the words of Jesus …”do not be anxious about tomorrow, what you are going to eat…look at the birds in the sky…”
At the same time Jesus wants us to enjoy what God is providing us with in our lives. To have without being “attached”, without being tied down by the things we have. To appreciate and be thankful for what we have without fear of losing it. To be grateful for what we receive on a day-to-day basis.
Freedom…Our Father wants to give us back our freedom. That freedom which we have lost…or rather, that has been stolen from us.
Father, give us back our freedom…