I am thinking of freedom as our country gets ready to celebrate Independence Day, but what is freedom? Here is a sonnet (of sorts) inspired by the Christian monk and writer, Thomas Merton, and his understanding of freedom.

Merton’s Freedom

Merton called them his four walls of freedom,
those cloistered grounds where his life was spent.
Day after day, rising before the dawn,
To pray, eat, work, obey, confess, repent.

But can freedom really be found behind such walls? Isn't freedom being able to break the rules and do whatever you want, whenever you want? Go for walks on the beach and visit fine restaurants and go bar-hopping with friends, or just binge-watch something at home, sleep all day, relax in your favorite chair, as you chase pleasure and happiness and those elusive dreams, but at least you don't have to listen to or obey anyone but yourself? You can do what you want when you want where you want for as long as you want?

Then again, maybe those walls did provide
What this sonnet's form wants to offer us -
Gracious boundaries that free us from pride,
From our desire to fly with Icarus.

The highest freedom, Merton learned and taught,
is found in our obedience to God.  

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