Friday, May 18, 2007

Dear God ...

Hello God,

I thought I would start my email by saying "TGIF" but that seems a little redundant. So I decided to go with "TYIF." You already know this but that means "Thank YOU it's Friday." I was just wondering. Did you make Friday? I mean, I know you made seven days but did you decide that one of them would be "Friday" or did you maybe just number them until we came along and stuck names on them? It doesn't really matter. LIke I said,I was just wondering.

So, I hope everything is going well in heaven. Since mom and dad arrived I figure things could have gotten a little dicey. You might try putting them in seperate rooms. Seperate neighborhoods if necessary. Seperate galaxies might be good. And no matter what mom says I strongly suggest you do NOT let her cook.

Hey, thank you for the sunshine. It has been really nice lately. Ever since you blew my trees down in those three storms last summer and winter I have had a lot less squirrel problems. I'm not sure I thanked you for that. So thanks. By the way, I got the roof fixed so please don't feel badly about it. That branch almost missed the house entirely. It could happen to anybody. Besides, it only went through the shingles and the wood. Nothing actually got into the house. So it's all good. Oh, and I didn't have to rake at all last fall. Those extra added bonuses really add up!

Debbie is having a good spring! She really has not had that much asthma to deal with. I really appreciate that. They tell me it is a by-product of the good weather but you and I know the truth. It's all You. Thanks 'cause breathing is important!

Let's see. Scott's got a job and that is good. It did make him move away but he seems to be happy there. He's doing what you had me doing and he's probably doing it better. (Chris)Topher is heading back to camp at Centrifuge next Wednesday and I'd really appreciate it if you would get him there safely. Those big trucks scare me. I know you are bigger than they are though. Hey, God, would you mind talking to him for me while he's at camp? He's a great guy and I know he loves you. He just seems to have some unanswered questions ... issues maybe ... that he's dealing with. Hey, don't we all? It eould be really cool though if you would show up in some special ways just for him. You know, big blaring horns and blinding lights might be cool. Whatever it takes. Just remind him about how much you love him. Ok, I shouldn't be telling You what You need to do. I mean, what do I know? It was just a thought. Kelli, Joe and Elle seem to be doing really well too. I know Kelli gets lonely when Joe is touring with the band but you seem to have given her some great friends. Kudo's for that! So anyway just want to give you a "nice job, God!" for all you are doing in their lives. They are "people changers."

Ok, I know I bug you about this ever spring and you always say, "no, no." And it's ok if you have to say "no" again. But if I could just mention it one more them. The Cubs. It's been a really, REALLY long time. You think you could? Just this once? Whatever you think is fine. I'll be ok either way. That Cardinal thing last fall was pretty tough to swallow though. A little over the top on that one maybe? Ok, I don't want to tell you how to run your world. Sorry.

No whammy's, no whammy's.

Well, I think that's about all I need. Except thanks for Debbie. It is her birthday today. Boy, I'm glad you gave her to me. Thanks! Without her I'd be like ... in debt, lost, confused and unemployed.

Wait. I am unemployed.

Oh well. We can talk about that on Monday if you want.

Hey, God. One more thing. Thanks for never being too busy for me. Thanks for understanding that my brain works a little different from most. Thanks for "getting" me. And for not getting mad when I slip into that "no-monologue-inappropriate-mode." I promise (and you already know) that I really never mean to. It just ... happens. You are really great, God. I know I deserve like a gazillion "time-outs" or detentions. Actually I deserve a whole lot worse than that. But you just keep loving me. That's pretty amazing, God. I mean, really. I don't know why you do that. I wouldn't love me if I were You. And the Cubs definately would have won the World Series for the last ten years in a row. Both of those things would probably have thrown the entire balance of nature out of control. Kind of like ten thousand volcano's all blowing up at once. Only a lot worse. But you just keep on doing things right and with compassion to boot. That's like ... like your trademark to me. "If it's good then God's behind it" I keep saying to myself.

I think I'm rambling again. Sorry, God. It's just that I know you are my safe place. I like being here. With You. So I talk just to keep your attention. That probably isn't necessary. I'm just trying to cover all the bases.

God. I love you. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

At least I didn't blow up

I decided to stop taking crap from my motorcycle. So today I drug it out of its secure location and propped it up in the garage. I am a human being. It is a piece of machinery. And darn it, I'm smarter than it is. I encircled it with wrenches, screwdrivers, and sockets so that it could not escape. I tore the entire e-stinken thing apart to get to that pesky leaking carburetor one more time. And when I got there I cleaned the living daylights out of it. Then I began putting it back together.

I dropped a screw. As screws go this was a rather important one. It is one of four that hold the carburetor together. Gotta have it. Unfortunately it fell somewhere down into the guts of the machine and hid among things that, as far as I know, have no name. This was not acceptable. I pulled the bike to the right, almost laying it on its side. The screw didn't slide out of its snare onto the floor. I pulled the bike to the left. Nothing.

There was only one thing to do. I removed another screw that does the same thing that the missing screw does. Then I climbed into my very hot (and still running) Mustang for a quick run to an auto parts store and a replacement screw. As I backed out of the driveway I heard a crunch but thought little of it. Probably just one of those sweet gum balls that fall out of my tree every 3.6 seconds. I went and bought my screw. It cost me forty-six cents, tax included. When I got back home I found a very expensive and very smashed screwdriver in my driveway. My crunch was not a sweet gum ball. It was a ratchet screwdriver. It sells for something around thirty dollars.

And I destroyed it for a forty-six cent screw.

I spit on it and let it lie there and suffer.

In about half an hour the bike was done, reassembled and ready for its test run. And guess what!

It leaks worse than ever.

And I don't have a ratchet screwdriver anymore. And I hate my motorcycle. And I hate tools. And I hate my high school shop teacher who is probably dead by now anyway. This is all his fault.

I'm going to sit my fat butt on my mega-chair and watch cartoons and remember the days when tools were foreign objects to me. Like ... today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The best parts of life always seem to end with a truck

This is what it looks like. I always wondered. My oldest son is one of my best friends. I am really blessed that way. My youngest son is one of my best friends too. So is my daughter. But my oldest son is the one that moved away yesterday. Well, actually he moved away eleven months ago when he became a volunteer intern at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago. The key word in that sentence is "volunteer." Because volunteers eventually come home. Everybody has to earn a living and so you can only donate your time for so long.

But what happens if you do such a good job donating your time that they decide they want you to stay and they decide to pay you to do so? Well. Then you see a truck drive away from your house much like the one in the picture above.

You know, I raised him for this. Same thing with his siblings. This was the purpose. There is a picture hanging in my hallway that has been stationed by my kids bedroom doors for over two decades. It portrays a dad, freshly home from work and still sporting his button down shirt and loosened tie. He is kneeling beside his childs bed and he is praying. I am that dad. I have done that more times than I can count. The tie does not apply though because most of my bedside praying took place during the middle of the night. I would wake up and do the dad thing ... making the rounds of the house, assuring that all is well. And then I would creep into three bedrooms and pray over the little bodies in the beds.

It worked. They all turned out great. No complaints. Their ages range from twenty-six to twenty-two. The fresh "mover" is twenty-four. It was time for him to go. He is taking a bride in July. As a pastor I get to perform the ceremony. That'll be an honor ... a hard one but an honor.

So tonight I was home alone and I walked into the freshly emptied room. A few odds and ends (things that didn't make the cut) still remain on his floor and in his closet. I looked them over. They have him all over them. Nothing in there is just "stuff." It's all things that he loved once upon a time. But I found something else in his room. It was a perfect portrayal of the way I feel tonight. I found our family dog, Bailey the Killer Beagle, all curled up on the floor ... right where his bed used to be. That is where Bailey would often sleep during the day when Scott was away at Willow. And today when she went in there ... his stuff was gone. She did the only thing she knew to do. She curled up where she has curled up so many times before and she tried her best to feel at home there. I can't help but wonder what she was dreaming.

Please do not misunderstand. I am so very glad it has all worked out this way. He is off serving God in the place where he was "called" to serve. And that is where I want him. Still, it does not make that room any less empty. Bailey? She only knows he is gone. The rest of us know where and why. And it makes all of the difference in the world.

So if you are out there reading this, son, know that your dad is glad you are right where you are. The empty bedroom will be filled with other things soon enough. But I will never forget the times I knelt quietly beside your bed and asked God to do in you exactly what He has done. I didn't realize then that it would leave an empty hole in my heart. But I look at it this way. We have eternity to spend together. So I guess I can accept and even find joy in the fact that you are off in the world serving King Jesus for a few decades. Expect to have some great days. Expect to get beat up a few times too. I know that you understand exactly what I mean. But never forget ... NEVER ... that those prayers are constantly being heard by your Father that is bigger than I. They ring in His ears. They echo in His heart. And He promises to complete in you the work He has begun.

Bailey? She will be fine. So will your mom and dad. Topher will be off soon to Centrifuge. Kelli has made a wonderful life for herself, her husband, and her baby girl. On top of that she serves on staff at another great church. Your mom and I went "three for three" when it comes to our kids. What more could we ask for? All of you leave holes when you are gone that no person or no thing can fill. Ever. But I would not have it any other way.

I love you. I am proud of you. The three of you validate the time I have spent on this planet. If it ends tomorrow ... it was well worth it. The title of this blog? "I wasted time and now doth time waste me?" It is a lie. William Shakespeare said it and it fit well in his play. But for me? No time has been wasted. Not one minute.

You are proof of that.