I could write about the wonderful class that I just finished at Austin Presbyterian Seminary, but then I would also have to write about the amazing friendships that I developed while I was in Austin. I could write about the incredible fact that my son is turning nineteen years old tomorrow, but then I would also have to write about the amazing gift of being a father. With so many amazing things going on around me, I think I can sum them all up in a simple little word; miraculous.
It is a herculean feat that I am even enrolled in a doctorate program. Boys with my demographic background are lucky to get a high school diploma. How blessed am I to not adhere to such low expectations. I serve a God that whispers incredible strength into my soul and says to me, “You are not finished! Continue to reach for heights beyond anything or anyone. I created in you a desire to live out your life, complete with passion and joy.”
And the friendships that I am developing at the Seminary…well, let’s just say that they are the kind that one hopes for throughout one’s life. These amazing people that have made it clear that I am loved unconditionally. Those words can be said, but when they are spoken with heart and truth, they are game changers. It is indeed what I call miraculous.
Then there is my son, that is one of the greatest gifts (my youngest son included) that I could have ever been given. He is an amazing young man with incredible amounts of talents. I never knew how to identify a miracle in my life, until I saw his face. That incredible face, that looked on me immediately, and I knew that I was standing in the presence of a divine gift from God himself. How blessed I am to have this one human being change my life in ways that I could have never imagined. And it all took one little word; daddy.
Today, I am humbled to see the miraculous all around me. I see it in my family, my friends, my calling into ministry. Praise be to God who continues to mold me and places signs and miracles all around me to remind me that I call someone mein vati. My daddy.
Most days I go about my business and get caught up in the routine of my schedule. Now don’t get me wrong. My activities throughout the day are anything but routine. Most days I have to roll with the flow. I am talking about routine being how long I am away from home, when things are due for bulletins and newsletters, the time for visitations. These are the things that happen every week.
Then there days like this one, when I am hit over the head with a sudden awareness of how much someone means to me. I am talking about my big stinky boy. The one who will be 19 in June. As a parent, I want nothing more than his happiness. I will move heaven and earth to help him find the thing that brings him joy.
When he came into the world I remember holding him in my arms. He was screaming like crazy. I started singing a song that I sang to Cazandra’s belly just about every day she was pregnant. Immediately, when he heard my voice he stopped crying and started looking around the room. I will never forget that moment. It still takes my breath away. I felt a connection to another person like I had never had before that second. Looking around the room at Cazandra and then Julian I knew that I was blessed beyond all measure. Praise be to God that even someone like me could know absolute joy!
Whatever it was that took me back to that moment in the hospital today, I am grateful to remember my son’s presence in my life. I pray that he becomes the person that he was created to be and live into the passions that were planted deep within his soul. I hope that he will always know that there is a divine presence in his life that will always be his source of strength and hope. I thank him for the many lessons that he taught me about what it truly means to become a man.
Today, I thank God for the ability to stamp a moment in time in my spirit; to remind me of my most incredible moments of awareness when the Holy Spirit speaks brilliantly into my life. I am grateful that I still want to add a little phrase to Psalm 139:14, “I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart” (CEB). The phrase I want to add is this, “But look at my boy!”
I ask you, today for whom are you the most grateful? Share with them right now. Let them know how important they are. Let them know that they matter.
On Thursday I was going through my daily tasks of clergy life when I received an unexpected e-mail from a friend. I smiled and continued my day. By Friday I had heard from several other friends (all in the same boat of navigating church life). At this point, I could not help but give thanks for what they all bring to my life.
Throughout our lives we are given the gift of friendships and enjoy the company of wonderful people who weave their way in and out of our lives with careful attention to the patterns that are stitched together in the depths of our spirits. Some people journey with us a lifetime while others are only with us for brief periods of time. No matter how long they are with us there is one truth that exists; our lives are better because they taught us valuable lessons to which we hold fast. We live stronger. We love richer and deeper.
Today I am especially grateful for my new friends that attend Austin Seminary. Yes we will journey on with the hope that we will stand and celebrate the milestone of receiving our Doctorate of Ministry degree. Somewhere in the middle of this educational pursuit, I have come to realize that one of the biggest life lessons that I am continuing to learn is that it is never too late to share in the joys of friendships.
I give thanks that we are hard wired to share our lives with each other. I look forward to the many more times we will have to discuss life’s issues and rejoice in a project being finished, or a life event that occurs. This is the spark that motivates me to continue my journey. Praise be to the One who created us. Today my amazing friends, I say, “Thanks be to God for you!” Oh yeah, and did I mention that I give thanks?
I am reflecting back on the journey my family and I have taken over the course of the year. My youngest son spent almost every holiday between October thru February in the hospital. I helplessly stood by and watched my son lose the ability to walk. He was suffering from an internal bleed that occurred right in the knee joint. As the bleed progressed he lost mobility in his right leg. He could not extend his leg fully and the bleeding continued for almost four months.
Hemophilia has reared its ugly head in our family many more times than I care to admit. At times living with the effects of a bleeding disorder takes a toll on one’s psyche. For me as the caregiver it is sometimes overwhelming. I can’t imagine how my son must feel.
Last week my stinky boy and I went to the ice rink near my home. He wanted to go with me to see me skate. I enjoyed seeing him sit in the stands. This was a part of my life that I had not shared with him. The ice actually is my solitude.
As I was leaving the ice my son said to me, “Daddy, I wish I could skate.” It never occurred to me that he would want to join me. I quickly grabbled around for the right words to say to him. I said, “Son, I will teach you how to skate.” As I listened to the words come out of my mouth I realized that all I have to offer my amazing boy are words of assurance. Sometimes a quick message of hope is all that we can bring to the table in the toughest of times. These mighty words filled with confidence and a promise that things will not stay the same.
I give thanks today that we are at a new point in our treatment. Knock on wood, my son has not had a bleed since February. With the help of a good physical therapist he is beginning to walk again. It is our hope that he will not depend on a wheelchair in the very near future. We will look back on this season of struggle and give thanks for the lessons that we have learned through these difficult times.
I will teach him to skate. I will also teach him many other things reserved for dads and sons. I will continue to be his biggest cheerleader; his biggest advocate. I will…