He had felt the sting of her absence and he had felt the pain of the distance between them yet, for the Wandering Man, he felt no greater pain than that of her departure. The end had not yet come for them, but even so he could feel the numbness in his chest and smell the stench of such discovery as if it had already happened. For him, now, it only seemed a matter of time.
Their love was, after all, a risk; a roll of the dice to which the odds were so heavily stacked against them. The footprints they left in the sand behind them were the divergent paths of separate lives that had intersected for brief moments of blistering passion, left cooled by the fear of guilt and the surrender to false comfort. To one there was a hope of truth whispering a soft song, to the other there was the liar of fear shouting loudly enough to drown out the music.
When fear sets in crimes of passion are often mitigated by the punishment of the mind. When hope becomes nothing more than a discomfort it is hope that dies. When love becomes that thing beyond our reach it is often happiness we leave behind. We have become masters of fantasy, one that would turn the sweet nectar of love sour and the bitterness of servitude to our liking. We live a lie, and then we hate ourselves for it even as we search for a truth we hate ourselves for finding. We are the most well conditioned of beasts, and we are the most indentured servants to fear, paying off the debt those before us have passed on.
It is said that there comes a moment with the prisoner begins to love his chains. It can also be said that there comes a moment when the prisoner begins to fear his liberation. Who does shackle you my dear? Who does bind you to the Earth with chains when your wings so much desire to fly?
Why must we compound the debt of our parents or of our neighbors by living their lie as well? Who created the monsters in your closet, or the shadows in the corners of your mind? Who sets them free to run amok in our lives? Who hides the torch that slays the dark beasts of minds in order to make them real?
Another firm footfall in the sand and behold, there is only one set of footprints there. I would rather die a thousand deaths in this deserted place than live a life in bondage as your neighbor. I would rather die a hard death as I crash to the ground than to have lived in fear of flight. I would rather die than to have never felt the wind rush through my soul, or never have tasted the sunlight upon my lips. Fear, let me go. Fear, let me be. Fear, say goodbye to this Wanderer as I set my compass to whichever direction I may go heading for a truth to which I may give my life.
If I must be alone in this journey, I accept my solitude. If I must be hated for my liberation, I accept my punishment. If I must continue to bleed to be released from these shackles and chains I accept the pain. In my heart I feel my purpose never so clearly. It is not to be loved. It is not to love. It is to acknowledge my freedom and take my liberation as a result of that understanding. There is love there, flowing naturally as the rain from a summer’s cloud.
Freedom is not liberation. Freedom is the knowing you can be liberated. Liberation is the act of exercising your freedom, of living that truth so vehemently that you awaken from the dream and find peace so abundantly that war becomes obsolete. Freedom is the knowing you can fly. Liberation is the flying.
The ground becomes a resting place and nothing more, the sky is where you roam. Gravity is what reminds you of the beauty of your liberation. Stillness becomes a beautiful activity. You begin to know fear as something you once felt, that liar who was once your Master but who is now a silent student.
So tell me, was the ride worth it? Did you feel the air briefly rush over you as you flew with me high in the sky, looking down on those clouds you have become so accustom to seeing above? Did you love the clarity of the bluest of skies even as you sought the murkiness of a clouded pool of mud on which to force a landing? I wish nothing more, I seek nothing less. That is love.
I will now rest my head to sleep. I will awaken on my earthen table to read the promise on the stone now covering my tomb. My tomb is the dream, the illusion of fear to which I have become enslaved. The written promise is of freedom, and in the rolling back of the stone I embark on my tale of liberation. You need not go with me, you need not sacrifice your bread for the promise of starvation. Yet you will not die of hunger if you do, for a wise man once said in a story written long ago that “man cannot live on bread alone.” Your body may feel hunger, and your mind may scream in the agony of fear, but out there, in that wonderland of liberation there is nothing you will ever need even as all your needs are met.