Some days I find myself peering out from behind a wall, wondering if I have to come out and play at all. It’s a rhetorical question of course, please, no one raise your hands with the answer! How do you choose to ‘come out and play’? From the time I became a believer at the age of 13 I made every effort to live a good Christian life. I attended church no less than three times each week, along the way I took up playing guitar, then singing, the keyboards and finally bass guitar.
My belief in spreading the Word of God compelled me to turn away from so many things that my friends were doing to make memories while in high school. I was seriously serious. I remember adults would converse with me and marvel at my sense of direction in life and the insights I had even at age. Everyone I knew saw a very bright future for me.
At my I look back through a much different filter.
As a teenager I chose to ‘not come out and play’ because the world needed me to convert them. I said no to nearly every high school experience that later I wanted for my daughter to experience, and in time, my son too. I didn’t go to dances, I said NO. I didn’t go to football games or basketball games or parties I was invited too by non-church going high school friends, I said NO. I said No so many times that for years I didn’t know how to say Yes to fun.
After my first divorce (I hate saying that) I took stock of my past and made a conscious effort at saying Yes. In fact for three years I said Yes to nearly every situation I so carefully avoided growing up. I didn’t start to smoke or drink, but I said yes to parties, and women and living fast times.
Ok, ok…. this has been pretty depressing up to this point, I can see that. But in the end, I figured out how to ‘…come out and play’ again. Let me share that moment in time where it all turned around.
It was during the summer of 1995, I read an article from a father who’d lost his only son just three years earlier to a rare form of cancer that spread quickly and took the boys life before long. His boy was about the age of nine when he passed away. This man, still hurting from the tragedy passed on advice that taught me the value of saying YES, of coming out and playing. He said the memories he recalled most were the not the times he told his son No. It wasn’t the times he said No each time his son wanted to stretch, bend or break the rules, or saying No to having another ice cream cone or can of pop in a day.
He found his best memories were of all the times he said Yes…..yes to the extra piece of cake, or yes to more ice cream when the other parents at the party were telling their kids no, or yes to staying up later just to watch that funny comedian on Johnny Carson, or yes to trying to stay up all night when his friends came over to sleep, just to see if they could.
He remembered them because of the joy it brought to his son when dad said Yes. After all, he was only wanting play more.
I finished the article with tears in my eyes and finally understood. Come out and play, saying Yes doesn’t hurt. Yes is how we ‘…come out and play’, it’s how we live out our wildest dreams. Yes, is how I will likely meet the next Mrs Hief. Perhaps she will ask me out, or I will ask her, but whatever happens in that regard it’s a ‘…come out and play’ that must take place.
So now I say yes to my son more than I ever did with my daughter, now I say yes to visiting my parents. Now I say yes being at the beach or buying the latest gadget, because now… when I’m wondering if it’s alright to come out and play, I know the answer is always Yes!
Thanks for reading this far.
UPDATE: I wrote this blog in December of 2006, just six months later while saying ‘Yes’ to coming out to play I met my wife and we were married on November 1, 2007. She’s a wonderful woman from Canada, with a charming family. Both my family and hers have easily melted into one unit. Life is good.