Write On!

They Forgot to Be Free

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm

by: Jen Gregory

In a busy world, down a busy street lived busy people. Mother’s and children, working fathers, aunts, uncles grandparents, all busy. Their alarms buzz and ding and another day begins. The mellow sun instigates with its fingers of light, tickling, brushing the inside of dark curtains, like a five-year old tapping the glass of the aquarium. The sun sees the nonsense, the pointless motion and is amused.

A mother wakes and scoots the dog off of her feet. She hollers down a hallway and heads straight for the kitchen where she will prepare breakfast and lunch like a short order cook. Her dozing husband will sleep because he has just gotten home from work. It is rare they are all awake at the same time. She has literally spent more time at the doctor’s office this week than she has with her husband. She turns on the little TV next to the toaster.

A thirty year old man, single and well dressed awakes to Bach piping through the house’s speakers. He is fully automated. He showers, shaves and put on the clothes he laid out the night before. He always smells amazing. He takes meticulous care to appear just so and walks into the garage and seats himself in the car that is also just so. He turns on his satellite news radio.

An elderly lady grumpily stirs to the cacophony in her joints. She aches but she must work. Her first stop is the bright pink pill box. She can swallow all eleven pills without water but sometimes wonders if she will choke. She puts on her work clothes and steps into her living room where she will turn on her TV.

A young man kisses his young wife. He will pull out his Bible and read what he already knows, it’s black and white text a soothing thing. He readies his mind for the sermon he must preach. He will thank God for all things but especially his wife. He loves her especially. He will finish that time of meditation and turn on the computer to check the internet and update his Twitter account. He likes to see the weather and the news as well.

Up and down the busy streets, in this busy world these individuals will turn on their TV, internet, smart phones and radios to hear an astonishing thing. There is a new mandate and it will sound wonderful but anger them to revolt in the long run. For one hour of one week they must be free of all obligations, they must relax and enjoy what they have. Parents do not see this as possible. Singles wonder how to cancel what they have already committed to. The grandparents wonder what the world is coming to and the young preacher thinks this can lead to no good whatsoever. Pleasure is dangerous when unlimited and unrestricted he thinks.

The first time the first “free” hour comes along most of them stay quietly in their house. Unsure of what to do and worried what others will think. The revelers, those rare souls who like a good time at any expense cause a great ruckus. They congregate with alcohol in public places and laugh, dance and fight. They awake the next morning hung over. They far exceed the hour allotted and this bothers and concerns the responsible public.

So they form a committee, secretly quietly and the young preacher heads it. They speak and talk about what it means to be free of obligation and how freedom does not mean partying. They should all be free to do something meaningful and worth while, to make the world a better place. It is no joking matter so they do not laugh.

The second time the “hour” comes it is a Saturday evening and all of the parents wonder, “Is putting the kids to bed early and obligation?”

The third time the “hour” comes the young preacher and his wife congregate next to the revelers who have planned an elaborate party in the local park and pray for the lost souls. The mother of three whose husband is never home stares at her spouse from across the living room. They are watching TV. He does not speak. He has never felt free. He does not know how to sit and be. She is realizing that she doesn’t either. Separately they wonder if that is what is wrong.

The elderly woman gets frustrated more than she does free. She isn’t allowed to watch her grand baby and worries his mother is partying at the park with the rest of the revelers and if her grand baby is with her. She wants to quilt or stitch but realizes every project has an intended purpose and therefore an obligation attached.

The single professional who is always just so wants to join friends for drinks, wants to organize a classy party. Since people aren’t allowed to work he can’t go anywhere to eat or drink. He realizes he has nothing in his house to eat and that he hates TV. He stares at his library of design books and architecture realizing that although he enjoys the perception of being a tasteful man he finds tasteful things quite boring. He has no interest in reading a book that will not result in an adoring stare.

The young preacher named David worries that a prayer group is obligation. He worries he will be reported and prevented from trying to help these wanderers. He squeezes his wife’s hand and notices her longing look at the revelers. She accidentally smiles. He prays harder. There is an atheist in the revelers who feels a certain hatred towards the prayers. He feels imposed upon and less free, but he isn’t sure why.

By the 6th “hour” a well meaning woman notices all of the children are being sent to bed early and have no freedom themselves. She starts a campaign for the children. It’s all she can think about during the hour. There is a policeman who finds it impossible to sleep because he knows how many rules have been broken. He forms a secret committee of fellow vigilantes who will go undercover as revelers and  try to halt any trouble makers.

By the 12th “hour” the revelers are being challenged. It seems their parties have become an obligation and must be toned down. They have been too diligent to organize the event and are scolded as such by the city council.

The young preacher and the atheist are organizing debates and challenging one another. The atheist feels certain that prayer is an obligation. The preacher feels certain that in his ministry he must quietly subvert this new mandate for the good of Christ.

By the 100th hour there are no revelers, no atheist, no TV watching and no sleeping children, only rioters. Each group and sub group pressed upon by someone else to change the way they spend their “hour.”

There is no 101st “hour.” The city decides it is harmful, impossible and three councilmen resign on the spot. The wife and mother watches her husband sleep and makes breakfast. She wonders if they should go out to dinner together tonight. She doubts he will be up for it. The professional man has taken up drinking, beer. He has grown a beard and revels in his manliness. His co workers think he has a drinking problem or at the very least and identity crisis. The grandmother once again takes up her quilting and grandbaby watching and feels more secure having some influence on the things around her. The young preacher worries he has failed. He commits to he community and is zealous in his sermons. His beloved wife is less talkative. This drives him to pray more and more. The atheist realizes he has a passion for rebuking religion, that he is smart enough to make others look stupid and enters school to become a lawyer. He wants to protect the rights of others to believe in nothing.

The city council meets and discusses how best to take care of its constituents. No one has had a “free” hour in a year now and they realize they are hungry for it. They consider reintroducing the mandate but with a list of guidelines. It is voted down 11-1. The one council man who had wanted it was disappointed but left and went home to his messy home and propped his feet up, pulled his wife to his lap and kissed her. He tickled his children and contemplated his Saturday. He would be free, he thought, as he gazed at the triangular flag and medals grouped in a shadow box. He would be free this Saturday to be a good dad and husband, he thought as he gazed at the Bible on his coffee table. He sighed and felt for the busy souls in the busy town that did not seem to get it.

The sun sighed and set but he would rise and tap the glass in the morning, watch the little people dart to and fro and wonder to himself, “What on earth are they trying to do?”

“A free society is a place where it’s safe to be unpopular.”

Definitions of free:

  • noun:   people who are free
  • verb:   grant freedom to; free from confinement
  • verb:   free from obligations or duties
  • verb:   make (information) available publication
  • verb:   free or remove obstruction from
  • verb:   relieve from
  • verb:   remove or force out from a position
  • verb:   grant relief or an exemption from a rule or requirement to
  • verb:   make (assets) available
  • verb:   let off the hook
  • verb:   part with a possession or right
  • adjective:   not occupied or in use
  • adjective:   not literal
  • adjective:   unconstrained or not chemically bound in a molecule or not fixed and capable of relatively unrestricted motion
  • adjective:   able to act at will; not hampered; not under compulsion or restraint
  • adjective:   not held in servitude
  • adjective:   not taken up by scheduled activities
  • adjective:   not fixed in position
  • adjective:   costing nothing
  • adverb:   without restraint

So grateful for the freedom I have thanks to our military,  its protection and great sacrifice. We live in a remarkable country!

  1. Wow. impressed that you followed so many thought processes. Compelling : )

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