One day, a person told me that he had just been released from prison. He served his jail term of five years. He said that he was at a loss as to where to place himself in the world. The world had changed so much. It had many demands. He had been working in a restaurant seven days a week to meet his ends.
He temporarily stayed with his relatives, who he said, only came home to sleep. They always picked extra shifts at work. They had to keep up with their credit card bills and mortgage payments—a large house, and three cars. The children, who were in high school, would come home at four. They usually stay home on the weekends. However, they did not have time to talk to him. Their attention was always on their i-phones or computers.
This man found his new life difficult. He felt alone. He also felt he was always on a rat race. He could not even go to Mass on Sundays.
He quipped, “I feel empty. I feel I was much closer to God when I was in prison. My fellow inmates and I had time to bond. We talk, work and pray together. We had bible sharing every week. There was that sense of belonging and faith.” He felt more imprisoned in the real world than in the prison.
If we think that the prison cell is the only place that restricts our sense of mobility and freedom, then we are wrong!
Our life’s “prison cells” come in different forms and shapes. It may be fear, abusive relationships, addiction or excessive worries about the future. Another kind of imprisonment, which is very common in our society, is the preoccupation with material things. Worldly obsessions cause us to forget what matters most in life. The ways of the world may allure us to spend more and work more. We may miss important events and opportunities in life as we immerse ourselves in excessive overtime work. We catch up with the pile of bills we have accumulated from our credit cards. All because we fail to qualify needs from wants.
We still have time to change.
Living a simple life offers a sense of freedom. Let us remember that material things, including power and prestige, are merely castles of sand. Such castles might be washed away the following day, or at any time in the future. We make castles. They are part of life. We are committed to building them. But it is helpful to remember that in the end, God still rules the sea.
Cover illustration compliments of PEXELS: https://www.pexels.com
I loved the analogies of the prison cells and the castles of sand. Every material thing we have is only temporary and fleeting, yet we waste our time working and striving to gain material things. You can’t take them with you when you die.
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