Friday, September 19, 2008

On Freedom

This was posted on Dan Bukvich's office door in the Music Building:

Lying on my table is a violin string. It is free. I pull one end of it and it responds. It is free. But it is not free to do what a violin string is supposed to do: to produce music. So I take it, fix it in my violin, and tighten it until it is taut. Only then is it free to be a violin string. Only then can it sing. ~Rabindranath Tagore, poet and Nobel prize winner

Sometimes I feel stifled in my life. I feel trapped, too attached to my family, to my husband, to my house, to this tiny town in the middle of one of the least populated states in the country. Sometimes I long to break free, to run off down the road, to pursue old dreams or fame and fortune, to leave behind me this life that seemed to choose me but is not always of my choosing.

What is freedom? Is it Braveheart lying on a wooden table clutching the rag of his memories and screaming his defiance to the world? Is it the wife who abandons her husband and two daughters to flee to the next state with her Lesbian lover? Is it Mother Theresa working feverishly among the poorest in Calcutta, choosing to give her own life so that others might be cleansed and fed? As the POW said, does freedom exist only inside us and no one can truly take it away from us?

I tend to think that is right. All of us have before us an open road, a blank slate, a myriad of choices. Even the chains of pain or poverty don't actually bind us any more than the ties of love. In making the hard choices, in choosing to be bound to a life which doesn't always yield the highest personal dividends, in pouring out our own cups so that others may drink; there is where freedom can be found. Only when we have the proper amount of tension, the exact amount of pressure, bound tightly at both ends, that is where we are set free to sing.


  1. That's beautiful, Erin!
    Becky T.

  2. *snapping fingers* Very deep. Very good.