Unfasten Your Wings
Are you having trouble adjusting to online learning and it being a completely different world? I’m certainly having a struggle getting my head around it. Yes, I’m talking about the time you are away from the computer. Quarantined during the ‘Quarantine’ period for some online courses. The world seems to have shrunk to just you and the course, which you can only access via your personal computer.
When I started my online course last week, it was the first time I have ever done something like this. It felt like the end of the world, and something else had moved in. After logging in and completing the first assignment, I felt immediately disconnected. It feels like a whole other world and world utterly unfamiliar to me.
But it’s totally possible to adjust to it. Don’t worry; I’m not turning it into a day at the spa type of thing here. I don’t even have hot water or a toilet. I’ve set up a simple wood-burning stove to keep me warm and to cook my meals.
And as strange as it may sound, there is an actual reason for the ‘Quarantine’ part of it.
In an earlier part of the year, I had a fairly major health issue. I had surgery to remove a clot and repair a tear in my heart valve. It was a fairly major procedure and I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to handle it all. The Internet is full of stories of people’s experiences with health issues and even catastrophic health issues.
And, so, having the Internet present was a way to get support from people who were through it. To get encouragement, to get perspective, to keep me sane. And after the surgery and some time off, it was quite easy to be ‘in’ the world of online learning. I really enjoyed the site. I wrote some great content. I worked with some excellent clients. I got to know some other people. And, yet, I still felt slightly different, even when I was chatting with them online.
I’m not sure exactly why it occurs to me that there are people who like to learn by talking rather than reading. It’s something I’ve thought about; in fact, it’s something I’m not sure I ever got when I was working through my health issues. And, it’s something I’m conscious of when I’m studying, learning or working with someone.
I’m reminded of a story about a woman who had been given a lifetime ban from a particular church, for an unforgivable crime against the church. The ban was lifted in one of those surprise announcements so frequent in the Church of England.
The woman, after years of dreaming of rejoining her friends in the church, sat at her desk one day and went over the ban list. After several minutes she said to herself, ‘If I’m going to be banned from this church, I’ll make sure it has the biggest congregation imaginable.’
And so she got a typewriter and filled it with words of hate and sent it to the church. Years later, she came to hear a sermon on forgiveness. The pulpit speaker read a part of the ban list that mentioned her church. The pulpit speaker said, “We do not say you may not go to your church, but we ask that you will not come to our church.”
The woman remembered the typewritten words and said, “If you won’t ban me from my own church, why do you have a congregation of people who will?” And with that, she stormed out of the church.
That woman had unbanned herself and unbanned others. And there was no end to it. She never ceased to unbend herself. There were still many unbanned others in her life. Many others are still unbanned. They continued unbanned. She lived unbanned, unbanned others. And this continued through the years until she looked at the list of unbanned people and the number had grown to something like fifty.
And a man asked her, “Why have you unbanned yourself?” She said, “I do it for you.”
And a man asked her, “Why have you unbanned others?” And she said, “I do it for you.”
She continued unbanned others through her tears, through her anger, through her fear, and through her greed. She unbanned others. And they looked at her with astonishment, and with pity, and with fear. They felt their very core being pulled away from them.
They went back to their communities, to their spouses, to their children. Some went back to their former jobs, but they returned to a life they thought they would rather go back to. Some returned to their former homes. And some were able to have one more conversation with this woman who had somehow gotten her name into the conversation.
She knew in her bones the person had unbanned herself. She did it because she loved them. It seemed she had unbanned herself to save them. She unbanned herself not because she wanted to be unbanned, but because she wanted to be in their corner.
Some of them were unbanned because they were unbanned at the core. They were unbanned in the way their souls were unbanned. And some of them were unbanned because their spouses unbanned themselves, or they unbanned themselves through counseling, or through prayer. She unbanned herself to have their backs, because they had her back.
But not all unbanned themselves in order to have her back. Some unbanned themselves because they had the courage to be honest with themselves, to be true to their truth, and to say, “I don’t want to be a victim anymore.”
She unbanned herself to have their backs because they were willing to let her go.
Why do we hold onto people, to have their lives for our comfort?
We may have the opportunity of being unbanned because we have been caught in the web of a lie. We may have the opportunity of unbanning ourselves because we have become victims of our circumstances. The decision to unban ourselves might be made out of fear, or out of a lie. But the decision to unban ourselves is a choice we make out of love because we care about our truth. And when we care about our truth, we are willing to let it go. And we choose to be on the other side of the web of lies.
She unbanned herself because she was ready to be free.
Sometimes we have the opportunity of unbanning ourselves out of fear, or out of a lie, but we choose to live our truth. And when we choose to be on the other side of the lies, we are unbanned, unfettered, and free.
I would encourage you to have the courage to be honest with yourself, to release yourself from the web of lies, and to unfasten your wings. Take them off. Unfreeze yourself, and unfasten your freedom.