Last year, in a conversation with a friend about parenting, he made a statement that stuck with me. He said, “I think the best model of parenting my own children is the way that God relates to me as a father.” I didn’t really get it at the time, but for some reason it has stuck in my mind.
Over the past weekend we have welcomed the newest member of our family and I have naturally wandered back into reflecting on the past year and the nature of parenting as it relates to all of life. I come back also, to this statement, and I think am starting to catch on to its meaning a little more.
I think the key issue is to see the basis and beauty of personhood in parenting.
Its amazing. All we want is for things to “get back to normal”. As we are reeling from the impact of one tragedy, it seems to just hit us again with multiplied vengeance. Has the world always been this broken? Am I just not waking up to the realities which have been so neatly tucked away from my sight all my life? It seems to all be going to hell before our very eyes.
Perhaps the paragraph above expresses my naivety. Of course the hurts of today do not come out of nowhere. They are emerging in their full bitter flavor after generations of poisonous marination. They are surfacing in rapid succession, and it is overwhelming. Like a person who has just been told they have 6 months to live we as a culture want to recoil into denial, repeating confidently, “What? How can this be? But I have felt totally fine up until now!”
My whole young adult life has been a journey of rethinking what I believe and seeking to understand those with whom I disagree. This process has be accelerated in the past six months. More and more I am realizing that one of the biggest problems in society today is the inability to speak across differences. To add to that, one of the biggest challenges that the church faces today is the call to speak to a world that the church very often does not understand. There is no way forward without learning to understand the whole picture of our faith, as well as the foundational ideas that drive the world today.
This time last year I was experiencing my very first every Father’s Day as a father. It was an important moment. I had been a father for an entire three months! It was not a reflection on what I had been through but rather on what I was about to get into.
As cliche as it sounds, its amazing how much difference a year makes. Being so early in the journey, I have only to say what fatherhood has done to me, not what I bring to it.
Last year’s meditation was full of confidence, anticipation and drive.
But becoming a father has changed me in ways that I never anticipated. It has made me into a person who asks more questions and makes less statements. It has made me more alive to my deficiencies and the immaturity of my answers. More than ever, I worry and I fear. Continue reading
These past couple of months have been a whirlwind. I’ve been working more hours than ever. In the small amount of time that I have off I have been attempting to push my schooling to a close, in addition to church work, home chores and spending time with my amazing little family. These seasons of intense work and limited time have come on more frequently over the past 18 months. I guess this is a part of growing in maturity of perspective – we start to see more and more important things that we need to invest our lives into.
As I have mentioned before this is a good kind of challenge. Although at times exhausting, it is an enriching and fulfilling kind of exhaustion. In addition to this, it is also bringing me more and more aware of the finitude of my humanity.
The more good things I see around me the more I see how unable I am to meet all the needs and opportunities that surround me. The world is a great big booming carnival and I am just a small kid with a balloon and one of those, all access bracelets. It is a task far beyond my capacity to properly take it all in. It all looks so good and so important. Where do I even start? How do I make sure I make the right choices? What if I miss a crucial opportunity? What if I make a big mistake? The music and rides and neon colors almost start to get a bit intimidating..scary even.
There is, I think, only one way to really live in peace among all the blinking lights and attractions – the infinite-personal God. Ultimately, he is in charge. I cannot contain the chaos. I cannot rise above it and make perfect decisions. But he does. In him, all things hold together and he is before all things. He is the head of all creation. He calls it out and it follows him. This vast and crazy swirling mass I call the universe is actually one great dance. His epic masterpiece.
Even though it is often far beyond me, my place in it is not. His call to me is not to take control, to be omniscient or to rise above it. His call to me is to follow him daily. To let him paint his pictures, rouse the nations, shake the earth and calm the seas.
This is the source of me sanity and my peace. Let God be God. Let God be my God. Every day is a gift. It is his project. I will give my all; let myself be spent on the great things he sends my way. I will have to leave much undone but I know that he won’t. Most importantly, I will enjoy the dance.