Yep, just in time for Father’s day, I’m writing a blog on… you guessed it, being a dad.
Somewhat needless to say, this has been a year of changes. And now, being on the ‘other side’ of it seems almost surreal. Isaac is now 13 months old and, to a large degree, so am I. When Isaac was born, I became someone different. There was no single major change, but so many subtle things that have made me into something new, at least new to me. The change wasn’t overnight, nor is it finished.
It’s almost a new identity. New priorities have emerged and old ones have reasserted themselves. But it’s so much more than just priorities, it’s a new way of thinking. When I was in college, I wanted to travel the world and eventually ‘settle down’ into taking a position like Secretary of State.. yea, that was the plan. My supreme dislike of politics aside, this was the thought. I wanted to be a world figure, not so much for the fame and glory of it, but because I wanted to positively affect the entire globe.
While this desire has not changed, my world has. I’m daily reminded of the suffering and frustration that grips various corners of the globe, but now it has been brought home to me on such a deep and personal level. Every time I see a child hungry, or in danger, or mistreated, or (let’s be real) aborted, my sweet little boy takes that child’s place in my mind. Those darn onion cutting ninjas are always hiding around the corner, whether it’s watching the news, or something like ‘America’s Got Talent.” These things now ‘get’ me, every single time.
The thoughts and feelings are almost surreal. I have to guard my thoughts as I fall asleep. It’s so easy to spiral down into second guessing everything that I do on a daily basis. Am I going to accidentally poison my son by not washing his bottle correctly? Should I be reading him more books or playing with more blocks during my time with him? Could he be allergic to this food? Am I taking good enough care of myself to ensure that I’m around to provide for him and love him as long as possible? The questions are endless, and anxiety is always huddled next to my bed, ready to snatch an hour’s sleep away in insecure turmoil.
Then, there’s the relationship that I have with my wife. Pause here for a moment. Having kids, or even just one, is WAY harder than simply being married. Ok, resume. Am I caring for my wife? Am I giving to her more than I’m taking? Am I there to listen? To make her laugh, to let her cry? Am I just there for her?
Seen this way, really the only choice I have is to fail. I’m not perfect. Meaning I am not complete. There are more things lacking in me than I care to contemplate. The phrase ‘fake it till you make it’ comes to play, real hard. The temptation is to say screw it, and just keep moving. But, that won’t work… but it’s also easy to stand still, constantly conscious of all the bad decisions I could be making. That won’t work either.
Joshua 24:15 comes to mind. “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua wasn’t a perfect leader, and he even acknowledged that he could not control the lives of other people, but he could be the example. No matter what my son thinks of me as he gets older, I want this passage to remind him of me. I will cast my cares on Jesus. I will lean on Him in the hard times and I will thank Him for the good times. (Still working on praising God in all situations, that’s the goal.) Jesus is capable, ready, and willing to fill in the gaps where I am lacking, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Me and my house, we will serve Jesus. No turning back, however imperfectly we manage to do it.
This has been one of the toughest, if not the toughest, year of my life. My wife’s job has brought a lot of stress to her life, and that plays out partially at home. My job, which I’m incredibly grateful for, has been tough as well. Less sleep, less time for self, more responsibility, more this more that. It has been hard. I’m not saying I wouldn’t change things, because I’ve made massive mistakes that I would change if I could. But, I’ll take it and I’ll take it again, and again, and again. Because I love who I am becoming. I love my wife and my son more than I could ever express. Everywhere I look, I see Father God’s handiwork in my life. Lessons everywhere, and I love my life more than I ever have before.
Although my dad life is barely 13 months old, I have infinite experience only a mere prayer away. God is faithful.
Hoping to do this blogging thing more often these days. But no promises. Love you all.