“Do you know where the girls are?” I could hear the conversation with a mom who’s a close friend of my daughter Melody. Her daughter was with two other young gals, one of whom was my grand, and their whereabouts were unknown.
“They’re in the complex somewhere. We’ll find them.”
No panic. This was a response of understanding because of the freedom these young gals feel in roaming our apartment complex.
They travel like a posse, poised for fun wherever they can find it, asking known adults to accompany them to the pool or hot tub, or just showing up at one another’s homes for dinner.
Here in Ft. Collins, Colorado, they have unique freedom that they don’t–can’t–experience at home. Surrounded by many families they know, in a complex that is limited and safe, they experience independence that isn’t their norm but has come to be their expectation. Riding their bikes everywhere, knowing they’ll be fed but not sure where, they are experiencing life in a bubble that will pop in a few weeks.
This freedom isn’t sustainable back home.
It will be hard. They’ve become best friends, and there is a sweetness to how they interact and enjoy each other’s company. They won’t live close to one another–they come from various states, and even those in Florida are living far apart.
This will end. They’re living each day as if this was how it should be. Their expectations are high.
Reality isn’t that gracious.
Freedom here isn’t thoughtless permission by parents who don’t care. It’s knowing who is where, who we can trust, who is invested in these kids and will own some responsibility for their safety.
It takes a village.
The hard part of village living is it may not last. Mobility is part of life. We’ll be here for another three weeks, and then it’s back to where home is once the conference is over.
Independence costs everybody. Freedom and liberty aren’t words of entitlement. They’re values of respect, conviction, and hope. Our kids can’t roam freely, like we did so many years ago, because those values are no longer honored.
Independence Day stood for freedom from an oppressive government ruling our country from a distance. We fought for the freedom to worship as we please, to have the chance to work and become more than what we began as.
That didn’t work for everyone back then either.
Everybody wants to be recognized as somebody of value, but to do so we too often devalue other people. We criticize and judge those who are different even though it was the ideal of different that brought us all together.
God says that knowing the truth will set us free. That absolute truth, right and wrong, should be our measuring stick. Not everybody doing what is right in their own eyes.
The ultimate truth is Jesus. He lives perfectly, loves completely. There is no unacceptable difference with Him. He has a heart for us all.
I want to experience this Fourth of July with the hope that we can come together with respect. Not judge or criticize, but care.
Those little gals had it right. Freedom is grounded in relationship.
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