This is my favorite coffee mug when I am on vacation. It’s a New Yorker cartoon–if you can’t read it on the photo, it has a picture of a business man saying, “No, Thursday’s out–how about never, is never good for you?” That is my dream when I am on vacation–to get out of sequential time, to move away from appointments and lists of things to do, and if anyone asks for something, just to say, “Never.”
But the dream doesn’t last for long. About a million years ago, I read Thomas Merton’s autobiography, and I remember that he had a summer in Italy when he didn’t have to worry about money or anything. However, a boil on his arm plagued him, and a toothache, and other various little troubles. He concludes that if you try to avoid suffering, it will not work. Instead, less and less significant things cause you suffering.
In the same way, you may try to avoid commitments, but it doesn’t really work. Instead, we get all flustered by less and less significant commitments. A lot of times, getting freedom is like that–we do the inverse of what we think will bring freedom, and freedom comes. Vacation is over for me. Bring on the freedom.
Upside Down Freedom