I Want to Be Free and a Half

IMG_2294This is Oliver.


IIMG_2293 met him in Australia last week, and I’ve decided to be him when I grow up.


IMG_2415Oliver is three and a half, and he’s got some things figured out I haven’t yet.


Yes, Oliver is three and a half, except Oliver can’t say the “th” sound yet, so Oliver says he’s “free and a half.”


Free and a half.


IMG_2416And he says it like he means it.




I think that’s more truthful anyway than a mere recitation of his age, because I watched Oliver eat an ice cream cone, and he knows there’s magic to be found in the mess and to dive headfirst into the sweet even though it’s sticky there.


I’d even be willing to bet Oliver likes the sweet more because it’s sticky there, which is a level of freedom I’ve rarely obtained, grumping as I do about about the muck and the mess and wishing for a life that’s more clean than cluttered, more joyful than jumbled — more pristine and perfect and orderly and organized than the life I have.


I’ve heard a lot about freedom in my 40 years and I’ve tried to listen to the rules so I can live a life without chains, but it turns out I know more about what it is to feel stuck. Stuck in the darkness. Stuck in my brain. Stuck in my faith. Stuck, well, rather loathing myself


But in recent years, I’m learning to look for the lights that lead the way to freedom. To abandon the isolation of the Shoulds and the Oughts in favor of the community of Wild Grace and Messy Mamaraderie. To tell you the truth of who I am in the hope you will tell me, too. And to discover that Love really does set us free.


I’m learning to look for the joy in the madness, but not rule out the madness as joy.


I’m learning to look for the sweet in the sticky, but rejoice in the sticky, too. 


I’m learning to find the magic in the mess. Because it turns out the life I have is sticky and sweet, magical and mundane, steady and unstable, and more chaotic and crazy and fabulous than I ever planned. I have a funny feeling that’s the path to freedom.


And to finding our way to Free and a Half.


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7 responses to “I Want to Be Free and a Half”

  1. Thanks for that last paragraph ! Sometimes I feel pressure that if things aren’t perfect then I’m not doing life rigt and I’ve failed myself,my family ,my work… So thanks.. Joy is found in the mess and life IS good… Even when is seems overwhelming. Hugs!

  2. Those who overcome great challenges will be changed, and often in unexpected ways. For our struggles enter our lives as unwelcome guests, but they bring valuable gifts. And once the pain subsides, the gifts remain. These gifts are life’s true treasures, bought at great price, but cannot be acquired in any other way.

    • I came here today looking for inspiration and your comment made me cry. I recently found out I am pregnant with our third that was never a plan and has been nothing but unwelcome news. I am trying to overcome these feelings of not wanting the beautiful gift of life inside of me but it is HARD. I can’t shake the feelings of WHY ME? and WHY NOW? You have helped one poor soul today and I thank God for people like Beth and you.

  3. What about people who aren’t free? Like for reals not free. Because: racism, poverty, houselessness, mental illness, human trafficking, addiction. Free and a half seems like a huge amount of luxury and privilege. Maybe if I could be free and a half and you are free and a half, we could take the half we didn’t need, that extra-freedom-that-comes-at-someone-elses-expense and make it a whole freedom for someone else. Could that work?

  4. I had a day today, stuck in my brain… All day. Worst in a long time, just couldn’t shake it. In fact I canceled the day. I canceled homeschooling, smiling, and being nice. I survived, and that is all. In the middle of my loathsome day, I missed you. I know we’re not “friends”, but I missed your voice telling me I am ok. I decided that in the unlikely event you posted today, I would tell you that I’m convinced that God speaks to you and through you just for me! (Well, and hundreds of other mama’s 😉 Because it would be about the third time since I’ve been reading your blog, that this happened – I needed a friend to reach out a hand and just help me make it to the next moment, and then there you are, saying just what I need to hear. So I had to say thank you.

  5. He didn’t really like the flavour of the ice cream. He liked the sweet and he persevered because he really wanted the cone. Turns out good things come to those who persevere 🙂

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