Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Learning to Be a Father

Last night, my son Josiah and I headed over to the golf range to hit some golf balls and just hang out. This has been a tradition for us for sometime as we both love golf and even at a golf range can find a way to compete with one another for fun. 

On the drive home, over an ice cream cone from McDonald's (another more recent tradition that we probably should discontinue), we just talked and it was another one of those moments that I am pretty sure I will remember for a long time and one that I will cherish. We just talked about life in general: about his friends, about the rest of our summer plans as a family, a little bit about his future and the next year. On paper it was an insignificant couple of hours; in the test of time, it was an eternal moment.

As I came into work this morning, Matt Bell, one of our pastors came in and told me a great story. A couple of weeks ago, a fourth grade boy from our congregation had a blood cot in his brain and had to have it surgically removed in an emergency procedure. The doctors didn't think he would be the same boy he was a week earlier. The doctors had a grim outlook for the family. At that point, Matt went and visited the family and tried to offer some comfort in a dire time.

How things have changed as of today. Matt told me he visited the family this morning at the hospital and voilĂ , he was speaking to the little boy and now this young boy is in the process of a full-recovery! This morning the father of this little guy spoke to Matt and conveyed to him that he is basically in the process of learning this truth -- our days are numbered and we must take full advantage of them, especially with those we love. Because of this major challenge for a family, this father is re-learning in a unique way the importance of being a father. On some level, with the near loss of his son, he is learning to never take his little life for granted.

This story Matt told me is again reminding me of something that God continues to ingrain into my life at this time in my life. The thing I am really learning over these last couple of years is the privilege it is to be a father. Even though there are many challenges in being a parent, there are so many things that I have learned in these past fifteen years. My sons have taught me more than maybe anyone else has -- about myself, about others and most importantly, about my own Father who continually seeks to care for me. 

As many of you know first hand, our children grow up with a speed which we sometimes fail to take into account. As I sit here and write, I still can't believe my first born, Josiah, will be off to college in three short years, and then two years later, my youngest will do the same. With this fleeting aspect of life, it again reminds me how each moment counts, whether it is just having fun on a golf range in the humid July air or when I am having a semi-serious conversation with my son over an ice cream cone.

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.”
We are merely moving shadows,
    and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
    We heap up wealth,
    not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
    My only hope is in you.

Psalm 39: 4-7

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