When We Forget We Are Free
by Karin Madden of Sunrise With A Six Pack
We wrapped ourselves in layers and braved the blast of frigid air. Nothing like the 85 degrees we left behind in Las Vegas. Montana isn’t for sissies. The crisp air crept up our noses and invigorated our already excited pack of six. Stomping across icy patches and past mounds of every snowman’s dream, we crossed into the quiet zone.
That’s where we saw them – Sam and his neighbors.
Sam is nine feet tall and weighs 1000 pounds. His neighbors, a feisty brother and sister, are much slighter in build, but have sensitive ears. The brother is going grey and little sister isn’t far behind him. The quiet zone. Not the easiest task with six kids, but we managed a low hum.
Sam was orphaned at a very young age. A handful of kind souls took pity on him when they found him living under a boat in Alaska. They fed him every day. But, see, you can’t feed a grizzly bear and leave him in the wild. He’ll learn to look for food from unsuspecting humans. And, well, Sam is nine feet tall and weighs 1000 pounds. Not a guy you want to give snacks to. Sam found his forever home in Montana.
His neighbors are a pair of wolves. They were born in captivity. Their caretakers lure them into cages while strategically planting raw road-kill throughout the wooded and fenced pen.
I stared at the raw beauty of these creatures as they played, wrestled, and clamored for their snacks. Their caretaker smiled at me and said, “I saw Sam out here the other day. The wolves, too. They were sniffing the wind. That’s what they do. It’s how they get their information… like reading the newspaper.”
I smiled as I watched these wild animals go about their wilderness, unaware of our presence.
She went on, “We hide their food so they can look for it. We sprinkle oils and scents around the grounds. They need that to get the sense they are free.”
I watched as the two wolves pranced and played, then stopped to roll in the oils left behind by their caretaker. Small tastes of a life of freedom in the wild.
They live in captivity. But, you see, they think they are free.
I couldn’t help but wonder. How are we lured into believing we are free, when we are living in captivity? We go about our business and slowly fall into worry, and fear, and anxiety. Carefully and methodically placed prizes momentarily lure us into believing freedom lies in our comfortable pens. We begin to believe the deceptive lie – this is all there is. We get distracted and stop to roll in the pleasure of it all.
Then, His Holy wind whispers. We close our eyes and turn our faces heavenward and remember – our freedom is out there, with Him. We breathe the sacred scent He leaves for us, and follow the trail of His whispering Spirit. We get distracted here and there. We fall and slide back into captivity… but just for a moment. Until His whispers bring us back, “Your freedom is with Me.”
I glanced over my shoulder as we left Sam with his raven friends. He nuzzled the ground and wandered, slowly tilting his head to the sky. The beckoning fragrance of freedom wafted from the distance – truth tickling his curious nose.
I couldn’t help but smile as the birds around him took flight. The whisper in my ear,
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)