Quiet Time #ThoughtsOfDad

There are so many memories that live in my soul, and my most cherished are the times with my family before this world expected anything of me.  When I was just a clumsy little hooligan. Most of them take place on our sailboat, a campground, the woods somewhere or a beach house. The one constant in all of my past times is the infamous words from my Dad, claiming that it was, “quiet time”. The sun on it’s way to bed, crazy hair (I’m sure) from whatever the day held, feet hanging off the edge of our O’day, around a camp fire, in the sand, in our back field (or somewhere of this sort) and attempting the impossible task of not speaking while looking up into the black night sky as the stars simultaneously begin to appear – the big/little dipper, O’riens belt, beetle juice (totally not how you spell it, but I thought that’s what it was called when I was little). Quiet time: a moment that I find myself longing for more and more these days, and has left me with a deep love for astronomy.

Among quiet time lives so many moments of waiting for my Dad to get home from work so he could lift me up to touch the ceiling. One time he took me on a date to the circus. I don’t remember the whole day, but remember that I loved it. I also have this vivid memory of getting to ride a pony outside the tent and getting a coloring book.

His presence has always been consistent – whether there was a funny noise under the hood of my first car (or second… or third), learning to change a tire (cus what if no one is around!!), shooting my first gun (I’m a Texan people, don’t hate) in our field, being taught just about everything, or calling my Dad in his office at work to talk me through putting water in a radiator while I’m crying on the side of the road in a different state. Being lost, and a phone conversation that always sounded like some variety of the following – Me: “Dad, I’m lost.” Dad: “Where is the North star?” Me: “Dad! What the heck? I’m driving down the highway and I don’t even know what that looks like. They all look the same.” Dad: “You can always find home from the North star… home is East.” My best friend, Ashli, after I hang up: “Did your Dad try to explain our way with the stars again? “

And when the day came that I decided to move away from home and forge through on my own, and everything in my life was a question – he told me to head out, live the dream, take the road less traveled, make mistakes… and if it all crumbles – call him and come back home.  It is safe to say that because of this man I have never been afraid to conquer my hearts desires, knowing that I could always call my Dad at any random, petty, but “important in the moment” moment that I would certainly encounter along the way… and it would all be okay.

However, no matter how crazy life gets or how far out I venture, I am always taken home when I look at the stars. It has a way of calming the anxiousness of a busy day and always makes me smile… When I gaze into the sky, and all at once feel overwhelmed by the vast amazement of God’s artwork, feel seven years old again, look for Orion’s belt and find “quiet time”.

And to my Dad: In the mists of a crazy life, I am forever grateful that 23 years ago you chose to make me your daughter – a decision that showed me what love really looks like,  how special that I am, the worth that no man can match and that continues to reap fruit as I navigate these years “out and about” on the path less traveled.

Thanks, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

 

Some Days Just Get The Best Of You

It’s true.

I sat in church today feeling like once again I would have no clue what’s going on until we dismiss.

I love singing the songs that I don’t know.

I love watching the people worship to words I can’t say but I know are glorifying to God.

And everything around me just seemed to overwhelm me with thanksgiving.

It’s already been a slightly overwhelming week but God showed me so many people this morning that reminded me how good life is and how the small things are Oh, so small.

Our Evenson, who suffers from Muscular Distrophy, can barely walk and has painful joints, but is never found without a smile. Who stays after all the other boys have gotten distracted to help put chairs away. Who goes out of his way to come say ‘hi’.

He sat by me in church today. It’s often uncomfortable for him to sit for a long period of time, but he never leaves his seat. During worship, as most of our other older boys are reluctant to stand, or are bored, Evenson is standing in the middle of them, with his hands lifted and his eyes closed, lifting the most sincere and genuine worship and prayer to God.

I cried because I know God was listening to him.

I cried because he wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed that he wasn’t fitting in.

I cried because, well, I’m super emotional right now.

I cried because he doesn’t deserve MD. He deserves to run. He deserves to play soccer. I pray for him each day that God would heal his body, or at least give him comfort in his bones.

Pepito and Chris Jerry.

Pepito is a single father. He brings his son, Chris Jerry with him everywhere, including church.

Alone.

Every week.

A single father is unheard of in Haiti.

A father is rarely heard of, but a father raising a son all alone is literally unheard of.

Not to mention a son who has special needs. Who requires 24 hour care.

He is a young man, in his 20’s, who gave up his job, his life – everything – to raise this boy who will never say ‘I love you’, who will never jump into his arms or play soccer with him. Pepito has literal minimal resources.

Yet, Pepito loves his son so much.

I cried today watching their love.

I cried watching a father love his son so much with no requirement for a return.

The man in the front who stood giving thanks to God the entire morning.

A grown man being vulnerable is another unheard of thing in Haiti.

I cried watching him be so incredibly grateful for life. For provision.

I cried because of my selfish heart – the difference in the way that this man and I would define the same term of provision.

Provision.

Most likely his children were able to eat this week, thus he feels provided for.

They weren’t out on the streets. Or maybe they were. Whatever the case, he felt provision in his life.

I cried thinking about the lives of the people in the church today. When they’re not at church. When it’s just a normal day. What their homes look like. When and if they eat.

On Sunday they are presenting their best. Even then, in the states we would be in those circumstances feeling like Job, like there is nothing left.

Yet they worship, they give thanks, feeling like they have been provided for another week.

Think again the next time you beg for provision, and clearly define that term for yourself.

Then give thanks.