Breaking the Shackles

May 20, 2008
By Aaron Retterbush, Valdosta, GA

My entire life I have received virtually anything and everything I have ever wanted. From as far as my mind can remember, I have always had a lust for the best of everything. Oblivious to the God-given blessings that actually give a purpose to life, I was living in a crystal haze that was so intoxicating, separating my mind from all reality. With all the wealth and riches anyone could ever as for, people effortlessly become “strange prisoners” as described by Plato in his “Allegory of the Cave.” The detained are chained “so that they cannot move, and can only see before them” the false images of worldly objects that have imprisoned them. People become so engulfed in themselves and objects that bring temporary happiness, which are quickly replaced with bigger and better objects, they loose sight of what is real and are only capable of viewing the shadows of what they perceive to be important in life.

For 18 years I lived in “the cave.” Breaking free from the paralyzing chains was a long and painful experience, one that makes people wonder, “Why am I alive?” I am alive because I was dead for 18 years. Upon liberation, my eyes were “dazzled” by the light and my body suffered “sharp pains” from the years of zero progress. The mind is oppressed by extreme and relentless discomfort. But the warmth of the sun is revitalizing and soothes the aching joints. The shadows are no longer visible. My eyes shine as I gaze in to the sun. My wrists still have scars from the shackles, but seeing them only increase the ecstasy because I know that I am living. I am no longer a captive to the possessions that once possessed my life.

Freedom from “the cave” occurs when prisoners realize what is taking over their world and the toll it is taking on their lives. Living is growing. Being a prisoner to things that bring temporary happiness hinders all growth, therefore sucking the life out of God’s greatest gift. Withdrawals from the poison are painful and leave a major void in people’s lives until they can adjust to what is real and discover the happiness gained from experiencing God’s creations.

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