Wednesday, March 03, 2010

5 Guys

There are 5 guys in my life that hold extraordinary places of influence, honor, and importance. And I also just flat out like them. A sentence or two about each and a paragraph about one.

There is Christopher. But he goes by Topher. He's my youngest child and one of the greatest joys of my life. He's intelligent, strong, and impassioned by that which he believes in. I want to spend more time with him and intend on making that happen. He lives with his pregnant wife, Laura (and she will love that this is the way I have defined her. Love you, Bella!,) attends Missouri Baptist University, and works at his church. He's one of the funniest and most joy-filled people that I know. He's far more of a man than I was at his age.

There is Scott. He's my middle kid but doesn't act like a middle kid. He's confident, purposeful, ultra-dependable, responsible, and incredibly gifted. He's also a Cub fan which makes us joined at our misguided brains. He lives in Chicago so I spend a huge amount of time missing him. He shares his condo with his wife, Amanda, serves as the Director of Student Ministries at Willow Creek McHenry County, and to my great joy calls me as he drives home about 3 times per week. He redefines "wise and mature" at the ripe old age of 27. He also has an incredibly razor sharp sense of humor. You learn this at your own risk.

There is Jim. He is my brother-in-law who, after graduating from Marquette University in Milwaukee, came to live with our family for a year or so somewhere around 2001. Jim's one of my best friends. I'm more the age of a potential dad to him but he cuts me slack and treats me like a brother. When he lived in our home along with Chris and Scott (and my non-male daughter, Kelli) the place became like the center of the universe to me. I could sit for hours and just listen to the banter. They were some of the most fun days I've ever lived through. Jim lives in the Tower Grove neighborhood of St. Louis with his wife, Alisha. He just quit a long time job that had begun to suck his soul dry and now is beginning as a manager of a Starbucks. His dream is to be a meteorologist or a full fledged servant in his church. I think he'd make a great mid-way barker at a carnival.

And then there is Joe. Joe is my son-in-law, having married my only daughter, the aforementioned Kelli. And this is where I choose to write the longer paragraph. When I gave him my daughter I knew he was a special guy. No doubt about it. In the seven years that they have been married he has loved her, provided for her and done the things that all husbands should do. And then he kicked it into overdrive. He cherishes her. He adores her. Together they have created two daughters, "The Amazing Elle" and "The Spectacular Paisley." And he's the best dad they could ever dream of having. Elle totally lights up when he sits and plays with her. But that's just a part of the story. Joe is a man with great gifts. He has played in two bands since he came to grace my home with his presence. The first was my favorite if only for their name, "Fish Mouth Revenue." How can you not love a band with a name like that? He's a first rate song writer, a gifted guitar player, and a much better vocalist than I could ever dream of being (but then, so is Shaquille O'neal.) Joe's going through some interesting times right now. And here is more evidence that he is a truly amazing man. He took an entire evening to sit with his in-laws (that's Debbie and I) and explain to us the situation he's recently dealt with. Just because he wanted us to know. Just because he knows we care about him and will pray for him. Just because he understands the concept of "family." How many guys would do that? As a youth pastor and a Sr. Pastor I've worked with thousands of men and I can assure you that the answer to that question is VERY few. I am grateful for Joe. I am grateful for his integrity. His faithfulness to my daughter and especially to his God. His pure devotion to his children. And I am so proud to call him my son. (Okay, "in-law." But, as my daughters-in-law will tell you, I don't really use that "in-law" part much. Don't care for it. Never have.) In the last couple of weeks I have watched Joe teach a lesson on "Character In Action" through his life style. Will he make it big as a musician or a song writer? I have no idea. But he's already made it big as a man. And in this world, this culture, this century ... very few of us pull that off. (Hey Joe ... I'm your cheerleader. You've already hit it out of the park in my eyes. Keep swinging and let's see how far God lets you drill the next fastball that comes your way!)

Oh yeah. The 5th guy? My brother. I saved him for last because, well, that's another blog for another day...


Kelli said...

Whew. know that's saying something. Beautiful blog, Pops!

Ron said...

thank you, Kelli, for your very kind comment on my blog. but i just want it understood that this does NOT change the fact that Oprah DID appear at the closing ceremonies of the Olympics ... ;)

love you forever,

Felicia Marie said...

You are one amazing dad, brother, father-in-law, friend, pastor... I love reading stuff like this:)

And five guys is an amazing burger place.