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Price of Remaining

June 2022

Whether to go or whether to stay: it’s an ages old question, a dilemma that can fix the feet of a hesitant soul right where they stand.

I cannot offer advice to anyone regarding the impetus for flight. I’ve fought the flight response just as often as I’ve yielded to it. I can nonetheless state that once my heart has made up its mind, I’m outta there.

The price for remaining is typically paid once the chance to leave has vanished. Complaints then become worthless after the fact, especially when the fact has become: your freedom is no longer yours.

“Do you think I am a dog, to treat me this way?” declared the Citizen-Prisoner.

“Oh, no. I’d never compare you to such a faithful animal,” sneered the Political Boss.

The hardest thing for anyone to do is to take leave of the land where his beloved has died. The odds were against my ever being able to leave the place of my birth; my wretched blood relatives counted on those odds. In yet another shocking blow to the ratio of the probability of an event occurring to it not occurring — I beat the heck out of those odds.

I paid a dear price in leaving; I’d have paid a dearer price in remaining in a place where I was despised, and treated worse than a dog.

The price of remaining is counted in looking back, never in looking forward. We here in the States have a damned old steer, a truly gelded she-man, steering this ship of state into the ground.

We Patriots can’t drift; we’ve gotta head toward freedom. Some of us might drift there, though. I guess, either way, we’ll end up in the same place, though not perhaps at the same time.

The ancient peoples of the British Isles drifted into an isolated God-forsaken land that became Wales. There, the expanses were devoid of forests. There were but the windswept tops of the lower moorlands, and the forbidden wild cliffs, the rocky shores.

To such a vast and insurmountable place my mind journeys each time that I survey the costs of staying, and weigh the price of leaving, regardless of the threats to my existence. I am a loner by nature, a fellow traveler by heart, a wanderer by training and experience. I’ve long since stopped living with the suitcase half-packed and ready to go, to wherever I must go, to feel safe, and free. I’ve come to know that safety and freedom do not co-exist, though they need not be mortal enemies.

Those who trade in freedom for the illusion of safety shall possess neither gift on earth. There are people who cherish their illusions of security and despise the wide open vista of liberty. They’re not humans I could ever abide, and I never shall. I’ve grown this much in the past few years, if not decades:

The safeness-huggers do not threaten me; they threaten themselves. I’ll leave it at this —

The price for remaining is most cruelly paid once the chance to free yourself has elapsed. I’ll not be paying that price, and no one can force me to pay their price of error, of clinging to a delusion that meant more to them than liberty — and life.

They enjoyed the taste of fears, and they spat at the aroma of autonomy. They despised the feel of free will while they held fast to the despots who undid them.

Wherever lie your fears, so too lie your aspirations, your dreams, your loves. Set aside those fears. Follow your dreams and your loves along the shores of all of your aspirations.

The price of remaining is rarely paid by a dreamer who left, and followed her dream to wherever it led . . .


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