I had the great privilege recently of being asked to get involved with an exciting new podcast series called Journeying Towards Freedom, a Marist podcast. As I pondered the topic, I came to think of the journey towards freedom as the opportunity to live out who you are without systemic or societal oppression or risk. In this sense, then, it is a journey towards the Truth by living within one’s own truth. It is a journey of meaning-making as you live it, a hermeneutics on the fly, if you will. Like everyone else, I am very much figuring out what this journey towards freedom means in and through the journey.
It is not a solo journey. Thinking about the theme gave me the opportunity to think again through the layers of privilege I have acquired, many of them through chance of circumstance, and also to think through the experiences I’ve had when my freedom has been restricted by others. I kept returning to the bigger picture: that I find myself in a very privileged position. A comfortable position on many levels. A comfort that it is challenging to risk.
So when I was asked what I could offer to help others on their journeys, I was very aware that each person has a different experience and that I need to stay open to listening to others’ experiences. That said, the thing that stands out for me in all of my journeying (and formation) is the idea that “you are enough” – an acceptance of each person as they are. And it is a message often not heard by those who are not afforded the securities of layers of privilege, usually because of an aspect of their identity, or multiple intersecting aspects – race, gender, sexuality, age, religion, etc.
As a recently minted Australian citizen, I recognise that this privilege comes with great responsibility to journey with the first peoples of Australia. The Black Lives Matter protests and events around the globe – particularly the harrowing deaths of black people at the hands of those ostensibly protecting the community – have shone a light on the issue of systemic racism, such that we can’t be bystanders, but must be active proponents of change.
I recognise that I have not done enough to stand against injustice, wherever injustice is found. We have to speak and act for the full flourishing of all humans. Silence is complicit. I am not journeying towards freedom if we are not all journeying towards freedom.