By Sarah Fujimoto
Redemption begins with honesty. Lately I’ve been confronted by me not going there. It seems my interests and desires the past few years continue to evolve. Yet, at times I feel like I am stuck in a certain room of a big house, knowing that if I confront the other areas I run from I will find more space to live in. More freedom. Freedom is not bound by others demands, others desires for your life, or social norms of have tos that equal success. One can spend so much of life in pursuit of what is next, something reputable, and buildable; all the while missing out on the individual and corporate calling we as humanity have the privilege of having. The simple and complex problems of aligning the future block experiencing the present day to the fullest because we are not fully engaged.
Being fully engaged means being honest with desires, interests, and challenges. I don’t even know how to do that concerning some areas of my life, but I know that if I desire to change and ask, the process can then begin. If I get honest with what I desire, and that being simply the desire to change certain areas of my thinking and life at times, then I can begin to walk in the freedom I have in all areas, not just parts.
Freedom is rooted in love, coming from acceptance and value of self and others because of a redemptive act done outside of selfishness.
Recently, I saw a beautiful example of freedom at work. I attended an event in Philadelphia that is held the last Thursday of each month; it’s called The Gathering. It’s a space for artists to create, be, encourage, and inspire each other. Many onlookers gawk and observe from balconies above taking in all the stimuli of small to large break-out parties of bboys and bgirls all around. In one corner Graf artists work on specific types of visual expression, in another there are people doing crazy things with balls that appear to be attached to their body, yet talent makes it look easy and simple.
On the stage there are freestylers flowing with the beats of local DJs. Expression and passion fills the room, and in the midst of pain and the things in life that try to push down, I see freedom emerge. I see honesty, these artists aren’t going halfway. It seems from my observations that they are fully engaged in the process, and willing to not let fear hold them back from this freedom inside that is bursting to get out and share with others what they have experienced yet overcome.
I don’t believe that overcoming means having all the answers or solutions, but recognizing he barriers that come and the inner strength and reservoir of life that flows from within, willing to surrender to such a process. It’s quite simple some days, but at other moments has felt so complex and undealable at times. Perhaps at those times it is a reminder that this journey is not my own and it is not by my own power or might that I have been redeemed.
Seeking the simple things, enjoying the present, and encouraging others. This is what I want to embrace right now. The artists at The Gathering exemplify this in thought, word, deed, and action. Another person I met the other day comes to mind as well, a man who was homeless outside the marketplace. Walking out of the farmers market downtown the other day I saw a man staring as I exited the doors. He stepped in front of me and stopped me to ask, “Can you share some happiness today?” I wasn’t sure what he meant, so I asked, and while my mouth began to naturally curl upward into a slight smile, his encouragement was enough to break it out into a full one. He responded, “That’s it, just a smile for happiness. Thank you. Bless you.” I could tell his words were sincere and he didn’t have any underlying agenda or motive, but really wanted to bless me with happiness while receiving it himself. I’m not sure which came before the other, but either way, I’m thinking whichever one points him being the selfless one is the correct one. Simple things.
Whether it be through artistic expression or meeting a random person on the street that reminds you of happiness and freedom, my hope for myself and others is that we would learn from example and begin to walk in these more freely each and every moment of our day to day lives. When the mundane hits, let’s search for what really matters and realize the privilege and gifts that we carry, and not hold onto them anymore. Because life is worth living and not worth waiting for.
You can check out more about the Gathering here.
Sarah currently resides in an inner city community in West Philadelphia. She is attending Eastern University in St. Davids where she will be getting her Master of Arts in International Development this June. She enjoys exploring, learning, sewing, creating, dance, youth, writing, drawing, music, and painting.