A life free from bondage, where you are released and no longer held captive or held back by controlling forces brings responsibility, risk, reward. No longer bound by mores imposed by custom or design, liberation opens new possibilities. The freedoms that comes from moving away from home, being able to read, learning to drive, owning a home are all relative and may indeed lead to new forms of slavery. What does it really mean to be free and free from what? Are you running away or running towards? Holding on or resting in? A gentle rain can be a torrent for an ant. A storm a blessing for cobwebs to be blown away.
Almost four decades ago I took a vow, a promise, to be faithful in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I promised to love and honour another all the days of my life. The vow of a nineteen year old was a wild promise to tomorrow to be happily bound for eternity and in the binding was emancipation – a freedom to co-create a future together not yet written, still to unfold. This unfolding continues even in these last days. We have never been to these shores before and all we have gathered along the way is being mined and harvested, because the rich vein and fruits are there to be mined and harvested. There is always more to discover when the gifts meet the furnace and the kitchen. Alchemy and feasts. Transfiguration and big magic. The tiniest of seeds once sown in the dark produces gourmet delights. The reader is now read, the child a mother, the inquisitor finding awe and wonder beyond words. All liberated. All bound together never wanting to be separated from what holds them as a clutch of kin.
We are living in a time of a national conversation about same-sex marriage and for me there are no words – love is love. To have more people making vows to one another is a sign for me is way beyond holding each other to account and more like loving the other to be the best self they can be in partnership – what a challenge! I think we need more of that not less of it (and for the record I will be voting yes).
I am sad. My love is dying and our marriage is coming to an end in the form it has taken these past forty years. Much of the stuff that drew us together as wild kids has been eroded over the years and we mourn what we have lost – mostly they are physical and exteriors. We celebrate all that has been consecrated by what we have made together.
My promise to tomorrow is to know there is a cost in emancipation and not all freedoms are worth having. To know what it means to be bound is a freedom all of its own. Just as the jazz player learns the scales so they can be abandoned, so the gift of a vow enables a safety net to be yourself and brings its own security. Traversing to new parts on this pilgrim journey each day is an invitation to new ways to know what it means to be emancipated and to be enslaved. There is more to be written on this …