Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I should be happy. I'm not so sure that I am. I am. And then I'm not. Tonight at 6:00 my wife and I will take our son to the school that he'll begin attending in the fall. A full fledged kindergartner. The boy is growing up. This brings me joy. And it makes me sad. See, this whole situation is exacerbated by the fact that for the past year and a half my son has been attending the pre-k at the church that I serve. I can eat lunch with him whenever I want. I take him home every day. I watch him play on the playground through the kitchen window and I can sneak into chapel and watch him worship. When the weather gets really bad, which it has been doing quite frequently these days, I can keep a close eye on him and I can rest in the knowledge that if the tornado warning turns out to be more than a warning that I can crouch somewhere in the corner of the building with my son held tightly in my arms. Even though I know that this will show that I have some level of codependency I am going to say it anyway. It brings me comfort and peace just knowing that he's in my building. The other day I did something I shouldn't have. I said, "Lorenzo, would you rather stay another year at our school because if you do then you will be in the classroom right next to my office...or would you rather go off to kindergarten and leave me here all alone? He looked at me and said, "I want to go with my friends dada". I felt like I had a knife in my heart. "You sure", I asked? "Yes dada". "You're going to make dada cry", I said, half joking. "Sorry". Sorry?? That's all he's got? The boy is growing up.
Being a dad has caused me to do something else that I really shouldn't do. I have tried to "fast forward" time, which I always regret in hindsight. I used to say things like "I can't wait until this boy is potty trained...I can't wait"!! When he was potty trained I said, "It wasn't so bad I suppose". Then this, "I can't wait until he can feed himself". When he finally could I said, "I wish I could still feed him every once in awhile". When he stopped coming down to my bedroom at 3:00am every night because he "needed me" I was a little relieved and a little sad at the same time. One day he'll stop sitting in my lap. That will be the day that I start the anti-depressants. This growing up stuff is not sitting very well with me. I like the fact that my son depends on me. He really needs me for stuff. Now I'm registering him for the "big boy school". It won't be long before I'm handing him the keys to my Cherokee. Then off to college. A wife and kids. Then no more phone calls. Then he'll put me in a nursing home. Good gosh, I have so much to look forward to.
Sometimes I think we resist the idea of "growing up" in another area of our lives. When it comes to our relationship with God, we can very easily fall into neutral. It's easy to take it for granted isn't it? God is always there right? We can pray without ceasing or we can give it 30 seconds before falling asleep. We can read the Bible daily or just wait until we hear it read in church. We can worship as often as we can or we can show up when there's nothing else to do that day. No matter what, God is going to be there. God is going to show up. God can be at the top of our list of priorities or he can be at the very bottom. He's there. No matter what.
I once heard someone say that there are only 3 places that we can ever be in our relationship with God. Forward, neutral, or reverse. One is really good. The other two are not. I think that part of it is fear. We fear growth in this relationship because if we grow then something will be asked of us. Life might change. Routines might get shuffled just a bit. We may have to begin making decisions between the myriad of Sunday options and worship. Someone might ask us to work the church garage sale or to consider serving as an usher which would then require a commitment of some sort. Look out if you express any interest at all in working with kids...you'll be on the "volunteer list" so fast your head will spin. We resist growth because we resist change. I wonder what our biblical story would look like if Mary had resisted her call or if Paul had just keep on killing Christians? What if Moses decided to remain a shepherd? What about Peter, James, and John? I suppose we would have never known their names.
If you're resisting growth then don't. God is there even if you deny him for awhile. He's not going anywhere. As soon as you turn to him then the "host of heaven" will dance. Continue to seek and you will find. Don't stay home on Sunday. Worship. Sing. Pray. Listen. Meet people who struggle like you. Find God and be open to change. God won't do it for you, but he will show you the map. He'll be you're GPS. You need God. Apparently he needs you. Otherwise, why would he take the time to seek you?
I remember that I wept at the front door when I visited Graceland for the first time. I fear a repeat performance when I get to the school tonight. The boy is growing up. Not neutral or reverse. Forward. I am grateful.
On a totally unrelated note...I have a good friend that has launched an amazing website for folks who are addicted to tennis like I am. Check it out: