“Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus replied: “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:18)
Jesus’ response to the disciple who asks for time to bury his dead father before following Him seems cruel at best.
The man’s father, however, is nowhere near death. His request is a symbol of the never-ending to-do lists and all the things we do to postpone living the life we are meant to live.
In Episode 7 of the final season of the hit television series “This is Us,” the show’s matriarch, Rebecca Pearson, gives her children a modern-day version of Jesus’ command.
Rebecca, who is in the early stages of dementia, sits her children down after Thanksgiving dinner, and she offers them a preview of what’s to come and what she expects them to do.
“You will not make your lives smaller because of me. This thing that’s happening to me will not be the thing that holds you back. So, take the risks. Forge ahead with your lives in any and every direction that moves you,” she says, giving her children permission to free themselves of whatever guilt lies ahead for them as they struggle to care for their dying mother.
A caged bird still has the ability to fly. It just doesn’t have the freedom to do so.
Jesus and Rebecca offer that freedom.
But accepting it is easier said than done.
No matter how free you think you are right now, there are things that are holding you back from the life you were put on Earth to live.
Your first step to freedom is acknowledging: The caged bird is me.