Sin is like being born in house arrest. You have freedom. You can eat your choice of any ten different, delicious dinners. You have ten different solid gray-scale shirts to choose from each morning. You can go outside to swing or toss a ball around. You can see the sun and the sky each day. This is not prison. You do not feel stifled at all. You have always felt free and safe. You know there’s an outside world, but it’s a frightening, unknown place. You’re convinced it has nothing to offer you and have been told that there are rules you must live by, which seems incredibly oppressive. You can’t imagine why anyone would chose to live under rules when you had complete freedom in your home.
Then one day your ball bounces over your fence and you walk down the street a little way to retrieve it. In your neighbor’s yard you notice a slide and you begin to become curious about it. But your ankle monitor doesn’t allow you to travel any farther. All of a sudden the next day, you’re a little put out by having to stay in your yard. You want to experience the slide. You begin to notice that you don’t have every freedom that you would like to have. The next day you decide to make a run for it. You run to your neighbor’s yard and slide down the slide. Of course the monitor goes off and a guard is at your side within minutes dragging you back to your house.
You’ve now tasted a bit of freedom and begin to wonder what life is really like outside of your house. However, you’re beaten down and feel alone and scared. Not being content with your home any longer you begin to seek help and plead to be released from house arrest. Finally, you are granted mercy. You may have complete freedom to roam about the world, but your ankle monitor will remain on your leg. That’s ok with you, it hardly weighs you down.
You leave your house and walk past your neighbor’s house. You leave your street behind and finally your neighborhood. You are exploring the wonderful freedom that has been lost on you before. You realize that there are millions of different, delicious food options. You see people dressed in clothing of all different colors and styles. As you continue to travel you experience the snow in the mountains and the beaches in the tropics. Eventually, encounter the rules you were told of. However, even the rules seem to be in place as a protection for the people. For example: Rule #3 “Don’t jump in front of a moving train.” “Really,” you think, “that leads to death, why would I want to do that anyway?”
Along the way someone trips you, but you get up again. However, it begins to happen more often. You get tripped and brought down and you begin to think of the beautiful safety and freedom of your house. It was such a beautiful little cottage, with flower boxes in the window, luxurious green grass, and the most comfortable of beds. The comfort that it always gave you. Without even realizing what you’re doing your feet lead you automatically toward home. It’s been an easy trip with no one tripping you along the way. Ah yes. Life is just so easy at home.
As you walk up you begin to notice things you never noticed before. There are bars on the windows and several large, heavy locks on the door. The grass is brown and ugly. The ball barely bounces. The food you once found delicious is disgusting and leaves a stench throughout the house. The clothes in your closet are drab. The bed is hard and lumpy. You decide this wasn’t what you remembered or want out of life, but it’s too late. The home automation system has already locked you in for the night. Feeling helpless and hopeless you decide to sleep.
Waking up with the house bathed in morning light, it no longer seems so bad and you’ve once again become accustomed to the stench and taste of the food. “It’s not so bad here,” you decide. You easily slip into your old habits and routines. Then one day, as you’re sitting out on your swing you feel the breeze and it snaps you out of your daze. You remember the humid, salty, coconut scented breeze of the beach and you suddenly can’t remember why you’ve come back and certainly not why you’ve stayed so long.
You set out to leave, but it’s hard to do so again. You’re ankle monitor, which has never bothered you before, suddenly feels like it weighs 100 lbs but you drag your leg out the door. It’s a battle moving down the street. The further you get from home the heavier the ankle monitor feels and weighs you down. The harder it gets to move. You give up and head for home. Again you find contentment in your old habits and routines.
After a while you begin day-dreaming day in and day out of the freedom you once knew. You decide to leave again. Once again the ankle monitor weighs you down, but you’re more prepared and more determined. It slows your journey until one day you realize it feels weightless again. You begin to revel once again in your true freedom. The more time you spend away from your house the more and more realize that your house was the true prison and now you were experiencing true freedom. That even the rules that were put in place for your own protection and allowed for far more freedom than the oppression of the barred windows, drab wardrobe and tasteless, smelly slop you ate for food.
Even with this knowledge, your house still haunts your heart and yells out to you calling you home. You even decide to go home again. But standing across the street, you once again are shocked by prison-style house that stands in front of you. You break into a run to put as much space as you can between you and it. Every so often it creeps into your thoughts. But this time you have truth on your side. When you picture your house in your mind instead of seeing flower boxes you remember the bars. Instead of believing your bed is the most comfortable of feather mattresses you remember the hard lumps. Armed with the truth of your past imprisonment you began to become adept at pushing thoughts of your house away.
The thoughts and longings come less and less often the longer you’re from home. And one day you wake up and realize it holds no draw to you. You wouldn’t go back there even if someone paid you a million dollars. You swing your feet around the bed and place them on the floor and you’re astonished to find that your ankle monitor is not snapped. The lock has somehow come undone. Without hesitation you take the last piece of your life linking you to your past prison, drive down to the beach and chuck it into the vast ocean before you. You are free. Truly, completely, and totally free. As you sit down on the beach drawing your knees to your chest, you think back on your life and are astonished that you once thought your prison was freedom and that true freedom was a prison.