Nolan, a month shy of his first birthday, is a constant motion machine. I’d nickname him Houdini for his ability to get out of situations and disappear quickly, but I fear the name would incite him to further acts of toddler bravery.
We were getting ready to host a gathering for friends of my daughter. People were in and out the back door, carrying odds and ends, not looking where they were going. Nolan saw a chance and would make a break for it, getting outside quicker than most of us could grab him.
After several attempts to keep him inside, we accommodated him; we set up the kiddie corral on the porch so he could see everything that was going on; no worries about stepping on him or losing him.
This little device is baby jail; anyone put in it looks like they’re confined for bad behavior. Or unwise behavior. Though how wise can an eleven-month-old really be?
Nolan pulled himself up and stood staring at us over the top of his area of confinement. We made it as fun and distracting as possible by giving him toys and a few blankets to make it cozy.
He disregarded all attempts at making it palatable; he stood there plaintively wailing when no one paid him any attention. Taking him out meant someone had to watch him.
Contained he remained. Not happily.
I can’t say I blame him. Containment of any kind always makes me think of limitations and somebody saying “no”. As hard as it is for Nolan to accept restrictions, I dislike such restraints even more.
Does anyone like to be told “no”? Are there any people who welcome limitations with gratitude? Not so much. Culturally, we’re seeing more and more a sense of disregard for laws and rules as people do what is right in their own eyes, not caring about regulations that seek a sense of the healthy respect we need for each other.
True freedom isn’t without boundaries. To define freedom, it must have limits, definition, what will work for all people. Without rules and laws, we have chaos, a sense of confusion, and disruption that has no resolution. It’s like the popular philosopher, Elton John, said: “It’s trying to find gold in a silver mine.”
It can’t be done.
When God created the world, He gave man the choice to obey His rules. There weren’t many. Adam and Eve chose to follow their own desires, and humanity has been dealing with a separation from God ever since.
He didn’t leave us separated from Himself. He sent Jesus to bridge that divide so we might experience His full love and forgiveness. We need that grace because living a perfect life is not something anyone can do; only Jesus did. He offers us the grace to overcome the separation with His payment for our wrongs.
Living a good life isn’t enough.
“Whoever keeps the whole law and yet STUMBLES AT JUST ONE POINT is guilty of breaking ALL of it.” James 2:10
True freedom came at a cost; the Perfect Man had to die for us who are imperfect. That’s not confinement to a system.
It’s the privilege of peace. A lack of chaos.
That’s something even Nolan would choose.