More Than We Need

My seven year old had a day which might have been quite disappointing for him.  Near the end of it his friends were leaving to watch fireworks.  Not only was he no longer going to be playing with them.  They were headed off to do something as cool as fireworks.  And him?

He was headed to another boring night at home.  His brother and sister (my other two kids) are away at my mom’s.  His mom (my wife) was out with the family car.  It was going to be me and him.   And to him, I’m sure if felt like everybody else in the world got to do cooler stuff than him.

“What can we do?” I asked him as he wailed on the bed.  “Can we walk to the park?”

They just rebuilt this playground near us.  I thought I was being a pretty hip dad.  It was less than an hour untill bed.  This was a bit of an out-of-the-ordinary treat.  At the time, I thought, to judge by his grin, that he was just admiring my wackiness.

As we assented to this plan, I was watching the gears turning in his head.  I figured out why as he shyly, slyly shared a piece of information with me as we headed to the door.

“Uhhm, dad.  Just so you know… it’s raining.”

I fed into his scheming ways tonight.  We walked in the rain to the park.  If it was a scene in a movie, if I was a super cool dad, I’d have been splashing along with him.  I’m not quite that cool.  I found a tree which offered me shelter.  And he played around.  The slide was super-charged with water.  The new park equipment was given this whole extra dismention.  He had it all to himself.  Turns out most people are smart enough to come in out of the rain.

He played for a while.  We decided to walk past home to our favorite little dump of a Chinese food restaurant for a second dinner that was after his normal bedtime.  The fact that we were wholly unprepared for the rain made it better, somehow.  I was in sandals.  We were both in shorts.    The rain soaked our hair and coated my glasses.

We shared General Goa’s chicken, shrimp Lo Mein, rice, and an orange soda.  It’s awesome to hear him read the fortune inside his cookie and hear him pronounce even the tough words right.  It’s so cool to discuss what the silly abstractions mean, and to hear him puzzle out how fortune cookies are just pretend anyway.

On the way home he got a little spooked by barking dogs and the way the streets look different at night.  He let me hold his hand for a while.  And then he found an excuse to pull it away rather than just grabbing it away.

I tucked him in bed a few minutes ago.  And he said something to me.  He said “Dad, thanks for giving me more than I needed tonight.”

And that’s most of the reason I’m sharing this all.  I’m not bragging.  This whole night was me at my fatherly best.  More often my parenting style is closer to Homer Simpson than Mr. Cleaver.

It occured to me that we have a heavenly father.  What he has for us isn’t just enough.  He’s got more than what we need.  He’s over the top and gratitious, decadent, and so very good, all of the time.

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Published by

jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “More Than We Need”

  1. Good story. Sounds exactly like me and my boys when they were growing up. Treasure those moments while they’re happening and make as many of them as you can. Next time, if it’s raining, try to enjoy the rain as something you were born for, not something to be out of. After all, we too can be Adam or Eve in this world that our Father has created to be our Paradise, and they not only had no umbrella to keep the rain off, but nothing else on, for that matter.

    Like

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More than we need

My seven year old had a day which might have been quite disappointing for him.  Near the end of it his friends were leaving to watch fireworks.  Not only was he no longer going to be playing with them.  They were headed off to do something as cool as fireworks.  And him?

He was headed to another boring night at home.  His brother and sister (my other two kids) are away at my mom’s.  His mom (my wife) was out with the family car.  It was going to be me and him.   And to him, I’m sure if felt like everybody else in the world got to do cooler stuff than him.

“What can we do?” I asked him as he wailed on the bed.  “Can we walk to the park?”

They just rebuilt this playground near us.  I thought I was being a pretty hip dad.  It was less than an hour untill bed.  This was a bit of an out-of-the-ordinary treat.  At the time, I thought, to judge by his grin, that he was just admiring my wackiness.

As we assented to this plan, I was watching the gears turning in his head.  I figured out why as he shyly, slyly shared a piece of information with me as we headed to the door.

“Uhhm, dad.  Just so you know… it’s raining.”

I fed into his scheming ways tonight.  We walked in the rain to the park.  If it was a scene in a movie, if I was a super cool dad, I’d have been splashing along with him.  I’m not quite that cool.  I found a tree which offered me shelter.  And he played around.  The slide was super-charged with water.  The new park equipment was given this whole extra dismention.  He had it all to himself.  Turns out most people are smart enough to come in out of the rain.

He played for a while.  We decided to walk past home to our favorite little dump of a Chinese food restaurant for a second dinner that was after his normal bedtime.  The fact that we were wholly unprepared for the rain made it better, somehow.  I was in sandals.  We were both in shorts.    The rain soaked our hair and coated my glasses.

We shared General Goa’s chicken, shrimp Lo Mein, rice, and an orange soda.  It’s awesome to hear him read the fortune inside his cookie and hear him pronounce even the tough words right.  It’s so cool to discuss what the silly abstractions mean, and to hear him puzzle out how fortune cookies are just pretend anyway.

On the way home he got a little spooked by barking dogs and the way the streets look different at night.  He let me hold his hand for a while.  And then he found an excuse to pull it away rather than just grabbing it away.

I tucked him in bed a few minutes ago.  And he said something to me.  He said “Dad, thanks for giving me more than I needed tonight.”

And that’s most of the reason I’m sharing this all.  I’m not bragging.  This whole night was me at my fatherly best.  More often my parenting style is closer to Homer Simpson than Mr. Cleaver.

It occured to me that we have a heavenly father.  What he has for us isn’t just enough.  He’s got more than what we need.  He’s over the top and gratitious, decadent, and so very good, all of the time.

Published by

jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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