Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day 2009: Yes, Men, You Are Good

Hey gang!

I know it’s taken me an extra day to get this one written, but with my little buddy in the hospital, his sisters are keeping me on my toes. They miss him and it’s the first time that any of the kids have been away from home since after he was born. So if you’re upset, please forgive me.

Anyhow, as I said on my Facebook page, I did have a truly great Father’s Day. It ranked up with the first one. Sade may say that it’s never as good as the first time, but I think it tends to get better instead of worse. I didn’t get a ton of presents. My kids bought me a four pack of pens that I like and a Mickey Mouse card. The card was nice, but the things that my daughter Megan told my wife to put into the card were even better. It wasn’t the best dad line (even though that’s nice), but it was the one that said thanks for taking the time to play with us when you’re working so hard. My wife doesn’t get that, but my 4-year old does. That meant the world.

My wife did make two great meals, usually I do a lot of the cooking, and I got a good sized nap. Those were great. Last year, Van preached on being able to take time out and getting time to do the things I wanted to last year. I felt that really never started happening until recently. So to see my time be somewhat more valued this year has been fantastic.

I went to Sunday service and my kids love going to the church nursery and the BLAST group, so they are eager and ready to help get me there only a few minutes late. Have you ever seen Jerry McGuire? Remember when Cuba Gooding’s character laments that he won’t cry if he gets interviewed by Roy Firestone. I tried to make that commitment when Van preached Sunday. He gets me every Father’s Day. He’s sneaky like that.

This year, I knew he was finishing up a series of Rhymes With Reason with the story of Little Bo Peep. The moral of the sermon was to not let your guard down while doing whatever you are doing for God. No nap times in the ministry. So for me, I thought, “Man, I’m by him this year. He ain’t getting me in 2009. I mean, I’m even on the ministry team so I knew what his sermon was saying. But he always has that little chat with God about how to do the closing. Normally, I love the magic that God brings to it.

I still loved it Sunday, but he stops at the end and asks fathers to stand. I’m thinking, OK, honor the dads with some applause, let us look around at all the other dads, give the mental high fives, sit down and get ready to close. Noooo! What’s he do? I want to pray for dads that are a little weary. I want them to know that it’s OK to get weary. I want to you all to realize that there are men in the church that are making a difference in their homes, their church, and in their community. That the work they do is good. Sure, they get tired, but they do a good work.

And that got me. I was thinking earlier on Sunday morning how tired I was. I was feeling wiped out. I’m like, “Lord, help me understand what I’m doing here. That what I’m doing has some meaning.” Simple prayer, delivered.

I think as men, we tend to forget that what we’re doing is affecting more than us. We know deep down that it affects our family, even though there are days we look at them and go, “Hello, is God or any semblance of him in there? Why do the things you do drive me so crazy and make me feel like you have no clue what I’m feeling inside.” They get it. They just try not to always act on it or your expectation level might go up a little. You know, more understanding equals more responsibility.

There are times we feel as if the church doesn’t get it either. We’re trying to take what they (preachers, teachers, etc.) give us and live it out. Sure, there are things we’d rather not do. Don’t buy that lottery ticket. Say Jesus Christ in the correct way and not in vain. Pray before a meal rather than woof it down. Take time to recognize God as he is rather than the box you might like him in. You can have the version 1.0 box of God for $19.99. Just kidding, but you get my point. They are paying attention. They may not give you the “atta boys” you need, or you think you need, but they are watching.

There are so many times our community doesn’t get it. I could go on and on about the community. Park board passes an ordinance that people can’t take pictures at ballgames. People go nuts thinking they can’t take pictures of their kids, yet the ordinance only keeps the pro photographers and weirdo freaks out. People get bent out of shape because too many cops come to see a communities’ finest students graduate. They should be honored, but all they can think about is how this infringes on graduation. Perspective can clear a lot of things.

So guys, remember, you are making a difference. Sometimes I struggle with it too. You get beat down and you think the world has gone to hell and a handbasket. It has, but you, yes you and yes me, can make the difference that matters. It may be the 4 year-old that reminds me to pray when I’m in a hurry or the 70 year-old man that tells me as crazy as society has become, that it ain’t all that bad.

I love you guys!

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