My husband and I like watching old episodes of the TV sitcom, “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

It’s easily relatable, slow paced and brilliantly funny. At least we think so.

In each show there is always a big to-do about family relationships. Raymond’s parents get in trouble for their bluntness. Raymond is often in trouble with Debra, his wife. Debra’s in trouble with her mother-in-law. And on it goes. Sooner or later, relationships are restored and amends are made, but perspective seems to be the main theme of each show.

Our favorite line ever is when Raymond says these words at the close of one of the shows, “It’s all about the editing.”

In the episode from which it was taken, Raymond’s parents offend relatives who gathered for a funeral. His mom blurts out a few private thoughts, and everyone is ticked. As the show ends, everybody gathers to retell stories of the good things they remember about the one who died, at which point, Raymond says, “It’s all about the editing.”

As of late, I’ve had time to do a little editing myself. Spring house cleaning has come and gone which uncovered treasures from our six adult children. Along with the items found came the memories. I snap and send a picture through my phone to “said” child and within minutes, I hear back — or not.

The one whose taken on the role of first responder is predictable, and just as predictable is the one who will not respond at all. Then there is the one with the one-word response, and one who will reply within the week if at all. One engages in conversation of appreciation, and one complies with a thumbs-up symbol leaving you wondering if you’ve become a mere nuisance.

As I made the executive decision that our home is not longer a museum, I began sorting these personal treasures to gift back to the rightful owners.

So, how was this idea of “giving back” received? The responses came swiftly — in no particular birth order.

#1. “What am I supposed to do with that?”

#2.  “I don’t want it! I don’t have room!”

#3. “Shouldn’t that stuff stay there so I can enjoy it when I come home?”

#4. “I don’t even remember making that stuff!”

#5. “Just leave it so I can sort through it myself.”

#6.  Still waiting for a response.

As we’ve learned, “It’s all about the editing” and what you choose to hold onto or let go of.

The effort to hold onto and gift back was filled with intentional love but so too is the letting go of the hopes that it might mean something to each. Though it may not, letting go of the expectation that it might is also worthy of gift not only to them…but to self.

Romans 15:13 reminds us where our true hope lies. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

May we respond in kind to the true Giver as we edit well the responses given unto Him. Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug lives on the family homestead outside of Clearbrook with her husband Pete. She enjoys writing about family life and brings humor into the sacred moments of everyday living.

Theology in the Trenches appears in several local newspapers throughout Minnesota. Kathleen can be reached by e-mail at


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