Being free also means consenting to what we did not choose
The exercise of freedom as a choice among options, plainly is important. However, to avoid making painful mistakes we also need to understand that there is another way of exercising freedom: less immediately exciting, poorer, humbler, but more more common, and one immensely fruitful, both humanly and spiritually. It is consenting to what we did not originally choose.
It is worth stressing how important this way of exercising our freedom is. The highest and most fruitful form of human freedom is found in accepting, even more than dominating. We show the greatness of our freedom when we transform reality, but still more when we accept it trustingly as it is given to us day after day.
It is natural and easy to go along with pleasant situations that arise without our choosing them. It becomes a problem, obviously, when things are unpleasant, go agains us, or make us suffer. But it is precisely then that, in order to become truly free, we are often called to choose to accept what we did not want, and even what we would not have wanted at any price. There is a paradoxical law of human life here: one cannot become truly free unless one accepts not always being free!
To achieve true interior freedom we must train ourselves to accept, peacefully and willingly, plenty of things that seem to contradict our freedom. This means consenting to our personal limitations, our weaknesses, our powerlessness, this or that situation that life imposes on us, and so on. We find it difficult to do this, because we feel a natural revulsion for situations we cannot control. But the fact is that the situations that really make us grow are precisely those we don not control*.
*"Man's greatest illusion is to want to have mastery over his life....But life is a gift that by its very nature escapes every attempt to master it." -Jean Claude Sagne, Viens vers le Père: L'Enfance spiritually, chemin de guérison
This excerpt from Interior Freedom by Jaques Phillipe has comforted me so much regarding my brother's suffering. Indeed, I have re-read it many times over the last few weeks. He has achieved "the highest and most fruitful form of human freedom". My suffering at watching him suffer(albeit through text and photo across the country) has been alleviated a bit by putting it into this context. He is an example to me. By watching him accept his limitations, weaknesses, and powerlessness so freely, I am urged to accept my own powerlessness, especially (but not only) within this very situation.