Monday, March 20, 2006

It's a simple two-foot Little Tikes open-air plastic dollhouse; complete with two bedrooms, one bathroom upstairs, staircase, large great room, and swimming pool. It comes complete with all the furnishings, car, toys - as well as duplicate moms, dads, children and babies. And for each child who plays with it, it can be a completely different world in their imagination.

For our triplets, it's the versatile toy of imagination. For Nicholas, it's a jungle gym to simply climb on and over; to sit on the roof of the dollhouse and ride like a horse, laugh and yell, "Yeehaa, cowboy!" For Hannah, it's a very special place for all of her babies to sleep - Little Tikes babies, stuffed babies, baby dolls, baby animals, etc. For Emily, it is just the tool she needs to push up against the back of the sectional sofa, climb up on and use to watch television while leaning over the back of the sofa.

On one particular day, a few weeks ago, it just so happened that Emily was attempting to secure her vantage point from the back of the sofa in order to watch her favorite television program. But on this moment, she was struggling more than usual to get up the side of this dollhouse.

"Daddy, Daddy, help me!"

Circling around the sofa, I quickly realized her dilemma. Climbing this dollhouse, for two-year-olds, not only takes body strength, but two free hands. One hand of Emily's which was not free at the moment. She was holding a set of stacking cups in one hand (a favorite toy of hers) and trying to climb with the other hand... but to no avail.

"Daddy, Daddy, help me!"

Wanting her to succeed on her own, I tried to reason with her about setting down the stacking cups and then climbing. But if you've ever visited our home and spent any time with Emily, you would quickly realize that she has a particular way in which she would like to accomplish a task and no amount of discussion may change that (I wonder where she gets that trait?)

I attempted to explain to her that I would even hand her the stacking cups when she gained her final perch on top of the dollhouse - no reasoning with this young woman's mind. So, I let her struggle with her dilemma for awhile. For her, it must have seemed an eternity - the cups or the vantage point? She climbed the dollhouse but then quickly descended to get her stacking cups again, trying to fool the dollhouse with the old "smoke and mirror" trick. No chance. Finally, she chose the vantage point over the stacking cups. Enjoyed the few minutes left of her favorite show and then went back to the cups.

Letting go and going on. It's a perennial challenge for each of us, my friend... no matter what age. Our eight-year-old son Leo has a difficult time, at times, letting go of toys he had when he was five and rationalizes the situation by saying, "I may need them a little later, so I don't want to get rid of them yet." And we all have items in our closets, relationships, calendar books and life that we tend to hang onto dearly, even when their practicality has simply worn out. But we attempt to hold on to it all for, pardon the pun, dear life. And yet, the irony is this: sometimes we need to periodically let go of certain aspects of our life to truly enjoy our dear life.

I'm not talking about a simple resignation of certain elements of our life, letting go and heading aimlessly down the pathway of your life. But there comes time in each of our lives to evaluate where to spend our time on the priorities of our life, our dear life.

I have a theory that in order to balance our the potentially endless drive, passion, dreams and imagination planted in each human being , God created the finite day. Only 24 hours in each day and only a finite number of months and years in one's life. This finiteness either causes each of us to continually reevaluate and refocus or to wander haphazardly and frantically through our life; all the while, continually dreaming and planning and imagining and hoping...

Have you ever wondered that it may very well be the Grand Designer/Creator planting and carefully placing these dreams and plans and imagination and hope within your life. Just to grab hold on to one of them, you may very well have to let go of a life, a plan, and a dream that has become very comfortable. To get to that next step, we may have to let go of certain things to continue the climb.

Regardless of our age, in the Creator's eyes we are all just children scampering around the top of a simple dollhouse or sitting on the floor and crying about our circumstances. What are those present stacking cups (mounting responsibilities, tasks, activities) in your life that could be let go of so you can continue your climb? Look back over the past ten years of your life and see the stacking cups have been left behind on your continued climb... don't miss them as much anymore, do you? And look where you're at now... smack dab in the middle of your dear life.

So hold on for your dear life by letting go of a few stacking blocks. Your future is just over the other side of that sofa.