Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What she doesn't know.

Tonight was Harriett's last high school band concert.  It's the end of an era of watching her play her french horn. I took a bunch of pictures, since that's what I do, and I wonder if she knows what's happening in my heart.

She doesn't know.

There's so very much she doesn't know, and she really is a very smart girl.

There are things I want her to know.  I want her to know she's loved, and that she has a home with people who love her that she can always come back to.  She knows that.  I want her to remember that wherever she is, she's never alone, because God is so much a part of her that he lives in every cell of her being, rooting her on and encouraging her, if she listens for his voice.  I'm pretty sure she knows that too.  I want her to be able to tell who to trust and who to avoid.  I want her to be confident enough to see the whole wide world, and find the love in it.  

There are also SO MANY THINGS I don't want her to know.  I don't want her to know desperation.   I don't want her to know abandonment.  I don't want her to feel betrayal, or the pain of being deeply, physically hurt by someone who is supposed to love her. I don't want her to know addiction. (Except to well-written novels.) I don't want her to know terror or crippling fear. I don't want her to know, PERSONALLY KNOW, the world that the TV shows all portray that seem so foreign to the way she was raised.  I don't want her to see the badness of the world as the reality of the world. I don't want her to know hatred.  

I know she's going to grow up and know things that I can't even imagine yet.  I pray that she ALWAYS knows love.  I pray that she will always be my dear, sweet, kind-hearted, book-loving, french-horn playing, softball pitching girl. I pray that she knows she is wonderfully and fearfully made in the image and likeness of God.

I hope she teaches the world some of what she knows. She knows love.    

Thursday, March 9, 2017

We say goodbye, she says hello.

It's time for us to say goodbye.

Nobody wants to.  We love him so much, and have so many fond memories.  We've fished together and laughed together.  We've played cards together and shared so many funny stories. He was the uncle who could drive trains.  TRAINS for crying out loud! He took us to his work once, and let me ride and even blow the whistle.  I love that guy! He laughed all the time, and usually had a smile on his face, but behind the smile I always sensed a sadness. Something that he was missing.

I knew what it was, but we didn't really talk about it.

It was her, and as we say goodbye, she says hello.

I keep seeing her in my head. Her strawberry blond hair blowing in the breeze as she runs to greet her daddy.  Kathleen hasn't seen her daddy since 1974.  She was trapped in a body that didn't work right, with a brain that caused her to seize repeatedly.  She left that body behind when bell-bottoms were all the rage. Daddy wasn't even 30 yet, and she's been waiting ever since for THIS day.  He's finally here!

I remember her tiny features. That skinny little girl that was always a baby, now is free to run to her daddy. RUN! She's free of that body and brain that held her captive. She smiles and laughs and looks him clearly right in the eye and says the words he probably always hoped to hear from her: I love you, Daddy!

Can you picture the smile on his face? It's not the same smile he's tried to put on lately.  It's the smile of that young daddy for his baby girl. Watch Clint look at his daughters, and you'll know what I'm talking about.  He reaches out to hold her, and looks at his hands.  They are no longer the hardened, stiff hands that he's been trying to function with lately.  They've been made perfect and whole.  As he runs to her, his breath moves freely in his lungs,and his heart pounds out a strong and steady beat. Finally free.  

What an incredible gift.

Uncle CJ has been blessed with so many wonderful years with Chuck and Dale and Clint.  He's been blessed with the love of parents, wives and friends. (And NIECES and nephews, siblings, co-workers, etc.) We will all miss him so very much, but it's her turn.

Our day will come.  Until then, we'll keep a smile in our hearts for them both.  We'll do what he did.  We'll live THIS day, and look forward to our next day together.  We'll love and laugh, and tell his stories until we meet again.

Friday, January 6, 2017

What's wrong with being "Confident?"

I heard that song on the radio, and asked myself the same question. What IS wrong with being confident? Truly, nothing. If you are properly defining the word "confident".

I heard a different song that got me thinking about this. The songs couldn't be more different. This other song was written centuries ago. In Latin, it's known as "Adeste Fideles" in English "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." If you know me, you know I'm a total Word Nerd and love learning the roots, origins and etymology of words. So naturally, I was curious about these Latin In our church, as in others as well, we sing it in latin, and one of the words looked familiar: FIDELES.

It comes from the word FIDES which means Faith. This version of the word FAITH (thanks to means  "trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief,"  

So, CON FIDES means "with much FAITH."  

Am I living my life like one of those "Fideles" being invited to "Adeste"?  Am I truly "Full of Faith"?  FULL?  

Con Fides.  "With much faith" is the kind of mindset that allowed Mary to say Yes to whatever God had in mind for her life.  "Fideles" is the mindset that the disciples took with them everywhere they went to proclaim the gospel to all who would listen.  

Con-Fidence is what I wish for everyone this New Year!  In 2017, May you be filled with FAITH that whatever it brings with it, He will love us through it.  Let's have CONFIDENCE that whoever dies this year will experience a peaceful death. Let's have CONFIDENCE that the new people born this year will be a blessing to the world they inherit. 

Let's all go forward, boldly into 2017 with the CONFIDENCE, the fullness of Faith, that our words and actions will reflect that Faith in our hearts, and the Love of the one we have Faith in.    

Oh come, let us adore him.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The God of "Jacob"

"Jacob" screams at the top of his lungs, "JESUS CHRIST!!!"

You can hear him all the way down the hallway, slamming his chair against a wall and crashing anything he can reach onto the floor.  "GOD!!!" Oh my GODDD!!" He screams, unleashing the fury that he just can't contain any longer.  A stream of obscenities leaves his lips next, that you wouldn't think a second grader would know.

He does know them.  He listened to his mother and father scream them at each other well into the night.  Again. They screamed and fought well after the "good kids" of the neighborhood were in bed, tucked in by parents who love them, and love each other.  They pushed and shoved each other into the early hours of the morning, while "Jacob" cowered in his room, trying to sleep, but afraid. Would the police come tonight? Again? Honest to God, he just wanted to sleep!

Now here he is.  No sleep.  No meds.  No shower.  No breakfast.  He made it to school because he got himself  up and around in time to catch the bus, and now he's exhausted.  He came to school with an attitude.  I wonder why.

"Jacob" does the only thing he knows to do.  He screams and swears because he has learned that's what adults do when they're angry and afraid and at the end of their rope.

"Jacob" does something else, too.  Something he doesn't understand, and may not even realize he's doing it.

"Jacob" prays.

He screams the name of a savior he needs desperately, but doesn't know personally.  He screams the name of the Creator who made him and put him here.  He's terrified.  He needs God!  He calls him by name! If you listen, you can hear the urgency in his voice, along with the anger and fear.  He doesn't use the loving tone you will hear in any church, but it is, none the less, the only prayer this kid knows.

He doesn't know what "God" means, but he's screaming out for help!  He's looking for someone that will love him and care for him.  He's so very DESPERATE for a SAVIOR!! He's looking for someone who will stand between him and certain destruction.

Amidst the stream of obscenities, is a plea for help to the God of this "Jacob", and all the "Jacobs" of the world. He is the God of every kid that struggles.  Every kid that fails. He's the God of every family that screams and hits and curses their way through long nights, and the police who come to protect them. He is the God of every messed up, addicted, hyperactive or just plain "naughty" kid, teen and adult there is. He hears those prayers, and he loves them.  

Pray for all the Jacobs of the world. When you see them, don't be so quick to judge. Help them with your prayers.