. . . confined . . . but free . . .

There is a scene in the film Count of Monte Cristo that triggers fear in me . . . even now . It has been years since I saw the movie. I remember the close confines of the dungeon’s rock walls. One small window. Edmund Dantes’s 6 years of solitary confinement . . .

I can barely breathe.

What is it about confinement we dislike?

Then there are my bluebird houses.  The interior floor space is a mere 5 x 5 inches or 12.7 x 12.7 centimeters (for my European readers). That is just enough space to accommodate an entire brood of three, four or five baby birds snugly without too much excess space that would cause the hatchlings to chill.

20200325_121622(A new nest  . . .  eggs may come in a few days).

That is, indeed, a tiny space, but God’s design. The birds are restricted here, but this will enable them to enjoy freedom when they scatter on their journeys.  We, too, are limited in some freedoms at the moment.  What do we do when our freedoms are curtailed?  How do I respond to this incarceration?

I’ve been thinking about this— the house is in order–drawers and files are cleaned and organized.  Nothing remains to be done except a few pieces to iron. Oh, I just thought: I could go through all my recipes and put them in order, discarding those I will never use again. Ugh!  I have the freedom to read, write, study, call friends, do crafts, cook new dishes, bake more–Tom would love this one! — work in the gardens if rains stop — such freedom to choose my activity for this moment.

We have always been confined. Yes, but free. As Christians we are confined within the security of a loving God who constrains us to love, to serve, to give, to obey.  Currently we must find novel ways to fund this love.

“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

I received an email this morning from a friend in Vienna, Austria, sharing how she is doing in her confinement.  I love the comment after she tells me she is well and staying active in her apartment.

“Interesting, enough people seem to be closer than ever before. Neighbors are doing the shopping for each other . . . a lot of discipline of the inhabitants of the city. That’s one of the good news.”

Interesting .  . . is it possible our home imprisonment could germinate compassion . . . across the entire planet? We can choose to embrace this crisis of staying at home in a productive, resourceful way.

“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.” Psalm 118:5

“Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name. . . then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.” Psalm 142: 7

After Edmund’s six solitary years, mentioned in the film above, a prisoner tunnels into his cell.  For the next eight years, Abbe Faria, a brilliant man, mentors Edmund in languages, mathematics, history, philosophy . . . preparing him for his future life as a Count.

What an amazing choice in confinement?

We heard on the news this morning of an eight year old girl who is baking homemade bread with her grandmother.  She had noticed the grocery store shelves were empty of bread one day, so she decided she could do something.  Her neighbors are now ordering her bread!  We have a daughter-in- law who is making colorful masks for friends in the health care industry.

Tom and I are in a better place than many— here in the countryside of Tennessee. No cases of the virus in the county; we’re staying six feet away from all the cows.  And we have not lost a job.  I understand those concerns of others.

“Live as free men. but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16 . . . giving compassion . . . by writing, phoning, doing whatever you can six feet away!

In confinement . . . this NOW, I  am free . . .


About oct17

The little girl in me loves bird watching, butterflies, sunrises, sunsets, walks in the rain; the adult I am enjoys the same. I sense God's awesomeness in all of life--what wonder there is in slicing a leek or cutting open a pomegranate. I have many favorite things--a formation of Canadian geese flying overhead, the giggles of my grand daughters, the first ripe watermelon in summer, snowflakes on my face--these gifts from my heavenly Father delight me continually.
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7 Responses to . . . confined . . . but free . . .

  1. Joyce Messiha says:

    We are doing fine in our confinement also and doing things we could have done anytime but never got around to doing because their were too many other things bidding for our time. I know many families that are benefiting from being confined together so now they are getting to know each other. There is a positive here of limited activity. More intimate conversations with family that previously didn’t have the time for them. This was very good Barb.


  2. Glenda Ferguson says:

    We also are doing fine and glad you are also. We were concerned for those in your area a few nights ago when the weather was bad in your direction. Glad you are doing good. Under the staying in (due to our age as I children would say) we are finding ourselves truly praying harder for ourselves and mostly for others in the wake of all that is going on in and around us. We are so truly blessed and have been made fully aware of this more now than ever before and asking forgiveness for taking so much for granted. Let’s continue to forgive ourselves, others and pray harder as we find ways of loving and serving the one who loves us most, Jesus Christ the one who loved us enough to die for us that we could one day be with Him forever and forever in a place He has prepared for us HEAVEN.


  3. Elaine Mount says:

    Really good read!!
    Elaine Mount


  4. Mette Thackstone Wilson says:

    Thank you xxx from us in Denmark xxx


  5. Pingback: . . . trusting? . . . and washing feet? | a journey to now

  6. Pingback: … in comfort… | a journey to now

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