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freedom and destiny

April 5, 2011

The whole freedom vs. destiny issue has always been a hotly debated one.  Instead of going through the details of it all, I wanted to take an excerpt from MLK’s book entitled, Strength to Love.

“To sink in the quicksands of fatalism is both intellectually and psychologically stifling.  Because freedom is a part of the essence of man, the fatalist, by denying freedom, becomes a puppet, not a person.  He is, of course, right in his conviction that there is no absolute freedom and that freedom always operates within the context of predestined structure.  Common experience teaches that a man is free to go north from Atlanta to Washington or south from Atlanta to Miami, but not north to Miami nor south to Washington.  Freedom is always within the framework of destiny.  But there is freedom. We are both free and destined.  Freedom is the act of deliberating, deciding, and responding within our destined nature.  Even though destiny may prevent our going to some attractive Spain, we do have the capacity to accept such a disappointment, to repsond to it, and to do something about the disappointment itself.  But fatalism stymies the individual, leaving him helplessly inadequate for life.” (King, pg 90-91)

It is very easy to slip into fatalism and allow the waves to take us out to sea because at some point, what’s the use?  But Dr. King reminds us that we have a freedom in each and every situation of our difficult and joyful lives.  We have no power over loved ones dying but we do have control over how we respond to such tragedy and move forward.  We have a freedom within the destined structure to model for others what authentic love looks like as well as honest grief.

A part of our destined structure is living in a world that aches.  We have the freedom in that structure to be vulnerable or fake, creative or lazy, patient or busy, free or fatalistic.  In what way are you struggling to find freedom within this world?

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