IMG_4475It’s been a summer of enjoying freedom: the outdoor space of the Pacific Northwest; doing physical activities instead of just mental ones; and time to just be with family – away from outside pressures.

I’ve been thinking about other kinds of freedom, too. While with family, we were able to spend a little time with my aunt and uncle’s beloved, dying dog, Archie. One picture that stays in my mind is of my 90 year old uncle, on his knees at Archie’s side, saying ‘good dog, good dog, Archie’ and Archie managing to lift his head and lay it against my uncle’s leg.

What struck me about that moment was that this is what we all want. To know that we are good, and valued just because of who we are, not for anything that we have done or are able to do. Free.

Christians believe that Christ’s life lives through them, that the spark of God’s love and light is just there, waiting to be let free. It’s like having something precious in a clay vase, but we don’t always think to take the lid off or to believe it’s there in the first place.

This summer my sister said some really kind things to me that felt like a generous gift. When I reflected about what she said later, I wondered if what she was really describing was a chink in my clay vase. I’m not sure I would have noticed if she didn’t say. I want to be better at noticing those gaps in other people, too.

The ‘gaps’ were overwhelmingly obvious when I watched the video of the funeral of a friend last week. Though of course devastatingly sad, it was also gloriously beautiful because she lived as though her life was Christ’s. Person after person shared about the way love and joy overflowed in my friend’s words and beautiful smile –whether she was in hospital or with her kids, or anywhere at all.

Someone also spoke about a necklace that my friend had of a bird outside its cage – completely free. I’ve been reminding myself of that image this week. I’ve got God’s life in me. I am free.