I grew up in one of the last houses on a dead end street. It was a great, little house where there wasn’t enough space to get away from each other. You had to be close to your family or leave. The kitchen was really the same room as the dining area and there was only one other room big enough for everyone. We called it the front room. I think this was because it was where the front door was but it took me a while to come to this conclusion since we only ever used the back door.My parents are good people. They’re the kind of people that, if they can figure out what is right to do, they’ll do it. Without fail, they’ll do it. I often wish I was more like them. I think life would be easier. It’s a strange rule of life that things are better when we live more for others than for ourselves.
In that small house my parents created a family. First, they bound themselves together with love and commitment. They liked it so well that they decided to add on. I was that first addition in 1971 and my sister, Heather, was added in 1973. I am very much an ‘oldest child’, which makes me happy and sad. I too often have to have my way. Plus being the oldest is not nearly as fulfilling once you pass 30.
Mom chose for me the room at the end of the hallway on the right. So there I lived and grew for 18 years. I was rather on the small side when I was born and the room must have seemed large but growing up caused the room to shrink considerably. It’s such a symbolic picture of life that a 5’10” high school senior is, for a while, confined to the same space as a 19″ baby.
From this family my parents had created, I finally grew enough that I had to be released. I think it must be painful and joyous all at once to release a child. I’d guess the pain to be in the fact that you created your children to be an integral part of your life. It can never be the same again after the release. Children must go and make their own way full of victories and defeats. But it also must be joyous to have a front row seat to watch children do what they were created to do. Go free.
My son, Collin, is five years old. It distresses me to think that the blessed five year period I just enjoyed will only be repeated less than 3 more times and he will go free. It makes me want to start talking to him now about never leaving home. I want to tell him it’s safe here and that nowhere will ever be better. I want to make all his decisions for him because I know what’s best. His life is much more my concern than my life. I created him. And I dread the release already.
I tell God about the terrible process of creating and releasing. I can see Him in my mind. Listening. Seated on His throne and surrounded by multitudes of angels that exist only to fulfill His will. Heaven is the home of the original creator.
And Heaven is the home of the original releaser. My mind has just begun to grasp this truth. The God of Heaven created for the very purpose of releasing. As in all things, God has set the pattern. Oh, we don’t do it nearly as well as He, but the example is there. He could have kept us to Himself. He could have said there will never be anywhere better than here. He could have made all of our decisions for us. He is much more concerned with our lives than we are. But He still releases.
Only in true release can people truly be free to live and love. True love and kindness come only from true choice. God knows this and models this. So who do you love because you’ve been released? Who receives your kindness just because you’re free to give it?
I was renting a movie in the Bookery not long ago when a much older man shuffled to the counter just ahead of me. He didn’t have an account and really wasn’t even sure if he had a VCR player or a DVD player. Genie is the nice lady there who is always smiling behind the counter. She patiently helped him set up his account and even held a DVD up next to a VCR tape so the man could judge which would fit in the machine he had. Ah, kindness being released.
Markie works at Grecco’s and always remembers what Matthew, Jay and I order on Mondays; the spaghetti special with cheese on the garlic bread. You can meet us up there at noon on most Mondays if you want. We’d be glad to save you a seat and, if I know Markie, I know she’d be glad to remember your order too. Small kindnesses released into the lives of people living in a world where kindness so desperately needs to be created.
We must all complete the process. Create and release. Children, love, kindness. Created and released. I don’t want to create kindness some days and I don’t want to release Collin any days. But God, the original, has called me to do both.
And since He’s created and released you as well, it’s your calling too. So be free. Create and release.