have you ever met or even just seen somebody that has so much life and joy and freedom, and excitement, and peace, and love, and understanding, and compassion, and, courage. they are out there. I am not just rattling off all kinds of great characteristics that the super human could have. my first encounter with somebody like this was in Santa Barbara where I went to college. his name was Matt and no I am not secretly talking about myself. he was a year above me and one of the first few people I met when entering a community that I would soon know as real life. for me this guy Matt epitomized what I thought real life could look like. it would not be too far to say that I put him on a pedestal. I got to know him a bit more and soon realized he was just a normal dude, but had this vibrancy to his life. in the community you could tell he was looked up too, but he definitely did not act like it because he just radiated humility. everything was always so exciting with him and things were so awesome and cool all while maintaining a clear focus on reality and be present with the tough things.
the next time I came across somebody like this that totally shocked me was when I read this book called Love does. some of you know of it. it is by Bob Goff and chapter by chapter Bob tells a story how he lived by love and did crazy amazing things because love is able to do everything. if you do not know Bob, a little bit of his story contains him sitting on the bench outside the doors of the dean of USC’s law school for 3 consecutive days so he could get admitted to the law school or him confronting a room full of Ugandan witch doctors and just smacked them all upside the head and told them to stop killing people, gave them a copy of love does and the bible and then provided education for them as a way to empower them. when you see Bob in person it is like Santa Clause in the way people line up to receive hugs from him. he is as jolly as he sounds and he is also as joyful as he sounds, and the freedom just emits from him internally and also how he lives his life externally. When you meet him , you are assured that it is not just a show he is putting on.
for me these types of people seem far and few between. they are something that has always been attractive to me. I often wondered to myself why there weren’t more people like this around. why are these people so rare and how do we find, make and become like them. so in a moment of delightful friendship I asked my friend Philippe why there were not more people like Bob Goff around. what he said did not really catch me off guard, but was what I had been leaning towards but unable to confirm. my friend Philippe said there are probably more of those types of people around, but we do not see them. I think the reason I had a hard time confirming it was because I did not think I had that type of freedom and I did not think I was capable of it, so I was envious. this envy did not allow me to see what was already around me. when Philippe answered my question it allowed me to think about the people that do a good job of living freely.
the question that quickly became our discussion was who around us that we know lives this way. if we know they are there and around us, then who are they?
I have not found a universal trait that characterizes this type of person. I think one thing that was leading me down a false path in finding these people was looking for somebody that displayed their lively freedom extrovertly. these guys Bob and Matt were noticed because they were loud, outgoing, ecstatic, passionate and they came alive when around people. the list that I thoughtfully put together at this table with Philippe was not so much of the people that were outgoing and extroverted, but one’s that were not defined by what they did or their circumstances.
so I think if I were to go on a look for these kind of people I would look for the people that are not shaken when they receive a bad grade, let down when they get told they can’t do something, rushed to fit everything in, or become so consumed by things that they forget the world around them.
from what I have come up with these people are special because they view reality for what it is and they embrace it knowing nothing they worry about in the moment will change the moment, so they embrace the moment and the people in it. this embrace is not taken lightly by them either , after all people practically and metaphorically line up behind these people to get close to them. it often gets me to wonder if this is what the modern day Jesus looks like. the even bigger question that it gets me thinking about is did Jesus really just come to give us something to believe in and have hope for or was it so that we can be with him, at peace and free. there is a part of me that thinks we make this much harder than it has to be, but then I wonder why am I not there, is there even a there?
when I finished my conversation with Philippe I was left with a feeling that I needed to look around a bit more. after sitting there naming off some of the people that I knew, I realized that I did not see freedom when it was right in front of me. I was looking for the ideal Bob Goff act a like. I guess I learned that we all can not wait for that person to show up that people are lining up around to get hugs from.
most often these types of people are out doing crazy things like taking their sons on a sailing voyage across the ocean, providing education to witch doctors, or hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. ( read love does then you will know what I am talking about)I guess what I am trying to say is that this can not be an ideal that we strive for and work towards because it looks different for different people. the best way that I can summarize this way of living is that it is a lifestyle that takes you over because it is something that you believe at your core, so it is something that just comes out of you. maybe you can say this freedom is like a religion. freedom is something that is followed and not something that is strive for.
remember to look around because this freedom looks different and can come in all different kinds of ways.
where do you see freedom being lived out and what is it?