I grew up in church. Catholic. Baptist. Non-denoms. Lutheran. I am well-versed in the lingo. I had my first communion at St. Albans in Ballwin, MO and was baptized a second time by a pastor in the swimming pool of Westminster Christian Academy at fourteen-years-old where the church my family was attending at the time was meeting. I went on to study pastoral ministry (and, no, that had nothing to do with cows) at Taylor University. Needless to say, I picked up some more of the lingo.
Over the past couple of years, though, a few words have surfaced and, later, resurfaced, quite possibly because they are words that in my current church are core to our journey. Transformation. Hope. I certainly have a few thoughts brewing around those subjects. But a word that I have been revisiting more recently is one that surfaces in the moments I am without . . . without my kids, without the confidence that life will ever quite meet my expectations. That word is redemption. It’s one of those words that I tiptoe around. I mean, after all, does anyone really know what they’re talking about when they flout that one around the sanctuary? It sounds so holy and unattainable. No amount of Bible-thumping, though, is going to nail it. There are some things in life that one only comes to an understanding of through raw, first-hand experience.
In the moment I am without but am able to grip what it is I have and who from the ordinary to the divine, is with me, I experience redemption. It’s a holy rendering of making mountains out of mole hills. Each time I make it to kickboxing or walk the dog alone or fire up the grill to cook a meal for one, I am practicing redemption. When I am without, I grab hold of the opportunity to redeem whatever loss I feel just then for something better, something beautiful. Yes, sometimes my heart is grieved that I no longer have what I once deemed as “picture perfect,” but what I do have is pretty darn good. Yes, I may be without, but I lay the white flag aside and ask myself, instead, “Alright then, what can I do? Who’s with me?”