Free Will

The Puppet-master in the sky
Is a myth that has lost its value.
A teacher, I value
A control-freak I don’t.

As strings of this puppet are cut,
New life is born.
My choices are my own
As well as the consequences.

The reward of self-control
And self-determination
Is not a cloud-based home,
But the ability to grow beyond
In this life or the next.
My soul is never-ending and therefore
So is my life.

“It’s God’s Will” is a cop out.
Never a consolation
And more likely a trap
Of sadness and inactivity.

Life is easier when “I had no choice”
Is my response.
I am absolved from responsibility.
No action, no change,
And no chance for a different outcome.

I look for a silver lining
Which doesn’t always show itself.
Yet there is always a new path to follow.

The art of moving on
requires a decision.
Dance to a new rhythm,
Choose a new path, build a new future.

Going with the flow might lead one
Down the wrong river.
Sometimes the best choices
Require a fight against the current.

Finding the light usually means
at least one trip through the darkness.

By Cheryl McDonald 2022©

If you would like to listen to me read the poem, please click below.

The December holidays are coming to a close. This week feels less stressful than the last few. My Christmas weekend was not what was intended, I was not able to make it to family gatherings. It was not weather related, but health related. I chose to stay home to reduce my risk of disease and more realistically to reduce my stress level which was filling my mind with all sorts of unreasonable outcomes.
I hate spending the holidays alone, but I hate being sick even more, and in the end I am glad I made the decision that I did. I filled my holiday with many activities that have become less a part of my life since covid lockdown like having a friend who also was unable to travel for dinner and going to a movie. Both of which were delightful treats. I did get to have a Zoom meetup with family which also helped keep me from getting lonely. And the best outcome was a drastic reduction in my stress level and everyone was fine with my decision. It is wonderful to have a caring family who understands. We all do our best to help each other with whatever is going on in life. I hope you had the best possible holiday too!

Now to this pencil painting called Free-Will of which you can order prints. It is about making decisions for ourselves and letting go of the stories of my Christian upbringing which were always a challenge for me. To be clear, I do not want to offend any of my readers. These are purely my own thoughts and do not represent or reference any one religion. If Christianity, Buddhism, Paganism, or any other religion works for you I am glad. They do not work for me.

The old-testament God always seemed like a petulant child to me. This masculine, jealous, and angry guy in the sky meeting out punishment to those who didn’t fall in line. The new testament addition of Jesus was softer, more of a teacher, which I appreciated, however God was still the enforcer. In my younger years as a christian, our pastor was an open-minded man who allowed the questioning of belief and I could ask no wrong questions. He was also a wonderful and caring person who allowed there to be much joy and celebration in religious practice.
Once he move on to another location, I never found another teacher like him in the Christian realm and so I also moved on. I took philosophy classes in college, and I am still constantly reading and listening to other spiritual teachers of various traditions. What I discovered is they have many teachings in common and many that I value and incorporate. I also discovered that religion is a human thing. That people need something to believe in even if that thing is atheism.

My studies led me to believe that I have a need for a spiritual connection and that spirit is so vast it is unknowable, that my intuition is a wonderful teacher and because I was raised to be a responsible adult who finds value in nature, people and critters, I have no need for the rules of a religion. I find those rules a trap and limit the possibilities for being my best self.

This painting is full of symbols, archetypes of power, feminism, classicism, and I use multiple dimensions to express time and change, because I believe that all of these things play into the notion that religion plays in our society and in my own spiritual journey.

Our choices, whether to limit ourselves because of beliefs we have been taught or because we are willing to break free and choose a new path are truly our own, and I value you for making them for yourself. The more we allow each other to make our own responsible choices the closer we can come to living in harmony. Your choice does not have to be my choice for that to happen.

Have a Happy Day!


Published by cherylmcdonald

Thank you for taking a little time to get to know me. Making art has been my life, I love to tell stories through words and pictures. I am a multi-media artist working in photography, watercolor, various drawing media, and sometimes digital art.

3 thoughts on “Free Will

  1. Hi Cheryl,

    Once again… blow my mind. Saying ditto to what you have expressed seems so simple and trite……………but I couldn’t agree more. And your sketch is filled with meaning and such depth – I’ll say it again – you are probably the most creative person on so many levels…..that I’ve ever known. So glad to be in your realm !

    Happy New Year !


    p.s. I spent Christmas alone with my new (adopted from the Shelter) little dog….Sammi. I’m used to being alone on some holidays…..I did Zoom with my daughter and grandson who were in Seattle. Dropped by Bob and Carol’s for awhile. I had had a pleasant week meeting up with family and friends leading up to ‘the day’ so there was nothing to feel down about. I actually had planned to go to a movie, but decided not to and rented The Fabelman’s from Amazon instead (but still haven’t watched it!). Where did you find to eat out on Christmas Day – I didn’t know anything was open. ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to hear you had a pleasant holiday week, Cheryl. So did we…..quiet and peaceful. We’ve had clouds and gentle rain several days and more to come, apparently. ☔ It’s been several years since we’ve had this kind of weather where the rain is able to soak everything thoroughly. 🌧 The plants are looking happy and will spring to life when the sunshine finally returns. 🌳🌹🌻🌾

    Wishing you all the best in 2023! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

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