I feel the weight of this world upon my back,
It is too heavy for me to bear.
I look back on my early years,
Oh, those days when I was more free—
Curious about every little thing;
Learning about the world and how it works.
Oblivious to evil and immorality,
Not excessively burdened by stress, sin, or suffering.
That was me, back in the day—
Hardly a care in the world.
I didn’t know about murder and racism,
About poverty and dying people,
About spiritual warfare and the heaviness of sin
And all the hardships of life.
I was asleep, yet happy.
But why, when I reached adolescence,
Did the real world hit me so hard?
The knowledge of sin and suffering and evil came
And threatened to make me bitter,
Depressed, isolated, if I would allow it—
Causing me, in a panic, to build a fortress around my soul
So that nothing would hurt me.
I reached adulthood, it didn’t get easier.
The wall is still up, though I go through phases
Of tearing parts of it down, only to patch it up again
And I wish I could crumble it completely.
Where is the freedom I once had?
Where is my childhood innocence,
Not having a care in the world?
Why is the world such a scarier place?
Why did my life become so hard?
But, what if the loss of this so-called freedom,
This seeming innocence,
Was the means by which I would find another—
One new and more perfect?
Not a sort of “freedom” in which ignorance is bliss,
In which I am ignorant to the turmoil of this world,
But a difficult freedom, stripping me of happy oblivion
To open my eyes to the fact that I needed something more?
What if this seeming loss of freedom—
This introduction to pain and suffering—
Was indeed my liberation?
What if all the sleepless nights, the heavy battles,
The tears, the agony, the loneliness, the struggles—
Were the means by which I would at last be free?
What if Someone knew I needed Him,
And placed these hardships in my life so that I would find Him—
He, Who loves me with perfect love,
In Whom there is fullness of joy and fulfillment?
What if all the doubts and questions
Were what would cause me to dig deeper,
And to at last find what I am really looking for?
Because really, is oblivion freedom?
Is not knowing about sin freedom from it…
Or enslavement to it?
Is happiness actually happiness
If I am unaware of where I am headed?
…If I am hellbound?
And so I was, but didn’t know it.
So now I thank my God
For the loss of this jovial unconsciousness,
This falsely-happy sleep,
This intoxication of the mind,
And for using hardships and harsh realities
To tame my wandering soul
And bring me to Him, where I at last find freedom.
And although life is not easy,
And many battles will still be found
And many tears will still be shed
And many nights where I will lie awake…
This freedom that I have now—
Conscious of sin and darkness, yet, no longer a slave to it,
Aware of this world’s pain, yet bound for a new one,
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing—
This is BETTER freedom.