Saturday, March 20, 2010

Time Travel & Good Conversation

Last night, 7:45pm; Josh:  "It really does seem like the older you get, the faster it goes..."

Last night, 9:15pm; Ben: "I love good conversation."

Today, starting at 5:35pm...

     "Hey kiddo, wanna eat on the swing outside?"

     "OW-SIIIIIIIDE!  OW-SIDE! OW-siiiiide...swing?"

     "Groovy.  Your chicken is almost cooled off.  Where's your milk?"

     "Miwk.  Chawky-miwk.  Chawky."

     "No, baby.  You had Chocolate milk at lunch.  This is just plain old milk."

     "...chawky miwk...BAR-bie?"

     "No, baby.  Maybe after dinner."

Dinner in hand, we move past the front door and on to the two step stoop on the front porch.

     "Hewp.  Hewp."

     "Okay shrimp...oooone"


     "Good job, shrimp."


     "Yep, that's why we came out here."


     "Okay, baby.  oooooph (exaggerated.)"


     "No problemo, kid."


     "But we just sat on the swing?  Don't you want some chicken?"

     " want...chicken.  Chicken.  no want.  Down?"

     "You need to eat a little at least.  Here...have some yogurt."


     "You're welcome, baby."




After slinging the tyke to the ground, our adventure continues...


     "Okay...let me finish my sandwich.  You want some chicken?"

     "no want."

     "Okay.  Ready."

     "Ring arooound the roooosies, Poooocket full of pooooosies.  Aaaashes, Aashes...
         we all FALL DOWN!"

    "aaaashes, aaashes....roooosies, rooosies............all fall DOWN!  YAAAAAAY!!!"

   "Okay, what now?"


Three spin cycles later, I feel like I'm a giddy infant with a buddy.  I decide that Lela might think ants are cool.  I flip over from my "all fall down" position, and point to a tiny anthill...

     "Lela, look!"

Lela flips on her belly directly in front of my face.  I quickly slide the diaper-clad beauty to my side...

     "Look, baby...ants!"

     "antz?  ants....woooooowwwwwwww."

     "Yeah, woooooow.   You're so friggin' smart.  Anthill.  Is that an anthill?"

     "anthill?  anthill...woooooow.  dir-dee."

Lela stands up, and begins patting off her hands and tiny pant-legs.


     "Okay.  Where do you want to walk?"

Lela points curiously to the road, where a few pedestrians have passed us by.


     "Okay, you want to sit on my shoulders?"

Assuming too much apparently, I sling the gorgeous little girl onto my shoulders.

     "WAWK!  WAWK! WAWK!!!"

     "Sheesh, okay, okay..."

I crouch on one knee to look her in the eye for a serious conversation.  During past crouching, it hasn't been uncommon for Lela to back herself onto my knee.  Thus is the case here...

     "Don't EVER go on the road without Momma, or Daddy, understand?  Never walk on the road
          without one of us holding your hand."

I hold up my finger with her hand clasped around it.




We walk, and as we go I name things that I don't think she's learned yet.  A tiny voice mimics every word with a soft, cascading tone...





Suddenly, I see three squirrels running around the grass in one of my neighbor's yards.  I forget how common it is for a second while my breath is stolen at the thought of my daughter seeing something so cool...


     "woooooooooooow!  skirrels!"

     "Look, baby...that one has an acorn in it's mouth."

Lela is genuinely taken aback by the site of these squirrel-buddies gleefully stumbling over one another.  A sweetly sincere grin fills my baby-girl's face.  She sees another squirrel perched in a tree that i hadn't noticed.  Her squeal is so infectious.  It makes me feel completely immersed in a conversation about critters that probably number in the hundreds in our neighborhood.

     "ahhhhh!!!  look daddy, skirrel tree!"

     "Yeaaah!  There is another one!  Good eye shrimp!"

We finished walking the length of our street, and then turned around and started back toward the house.  Along the way, Lela pointed out birds, rocks, leaves, grass, signs, mailboxes, cars, trucks and anything that crossed her vision.  If I had taken that short walk alone, it would have zipped by just like any other goal-oriented task I perform throughout the day.

I don't like the thought that people can't have a complete life without children.  I think it's a condescending concept even though it's an easy to understand one.  For me though, Lela is a tiny little pause button.   A walk with her is an opportunity to spend time with one of my favorite people, and a moment in time that I know I'll never be able to steal back should I squander it.

Thankfully, I think Lela has made it easier for me to take a second and enjoy the other people, experiences, and moments that are the real fabric of life.  (especially you Carrie :))

It's not the destination, it's the "wawk."

It's been an incredibly good weekend.


Sunday, March 7, 2010


We say God is "good," but that's not least not our "good."  God IS, and that's all.  God is good because he creates, defines, and strengthens goodness in love.  God defies "good."

I saw a shirt that said: "God is good all the time."  It frustrated me.

It didn't frustrate me because I'm angry at God, or because I don't like the person wearing the shirt.  It frustrated me because it's an oversimplification of God.  It's a statement that gives God a box that we created and tells him: "You fit in here.  I know you do, because I measured."

Somewhere, there is a Christian being tortured, and eventually killed for their belief.

Somewhere there is a child being stolen with the intention of being sold for unthinkable purposes.

Somewhere there is a person praising God for winning a basketball game.

God has power over all these things.

Since my daughter was born, I've found myself wondering how I would survive God's passivity if she ever needed him, and no one else would or could fill in.

I don't know that I understand God, but I think the biggest step I've ever taken in my faith was to let go of God being "good," and believing that God was what I am missing.

For whatever reason, God lets the bad guys win sometimes.  Outside of the bubble of America, they win a lot more.  I don't know why humans have been given so much freedom to butcher, rape, and destroy one another.  Anyone that says they do, is lying.

What I have learned for myself is this:  Peace comes from God.

The Bible is not a history book, and it can't be used as a substitute for a real conversation with God. It can not be used to defend or defeat God.  There are stories in the Bible as terrible as some in the Koran.   The Bible, just like all other books on earth was written by men.  It's a diary written by people that witnessed God's power.  It's like reading a love letter from me to my wife without knowing either of us.  The Bible is a tool.  God is the power.  The only way to understand the love letter is to talk to the person it's about.  God is there, pull up a kneeling pad and sit a spell.

I know that Christ has spoken to my heart in the past.  I know this because those were the only times that I knew I could walk out of the hurricane without climbing out through the eye.  Those times weren't good because I got a great result, they were good because my peace wasn't reliant on that good answer.

I wish I could have that wisdom all the time, but usually I whine like a sissy any time God doesn't take care of me the way I think he should.

I praise God for the peace my life has experienced, and beg mercy for my ignorant expectation of anything greater because I "deserve" it. I praise God for the hope of righteousness gaining victory over serpents, and humbly pray that I might one day be a part of the destruction of evil.  I praise Christ because for whatever reason he stepped beyond all other "gods" and walked among his creation.  I am a Christian because he fought, and suffered, and forgave, and sacrificed himself for a mocking creation.

If there where another god, I would NOT follow him.  How could I follow a god so inferior to Christ?  If Christ isn't God, then I won't worship one.