Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ignorance IS Bliss

It's true. Life is a lot more blissful when we don't realize how absolutely jacked (insert any four letter word of your choice) up it is. I became overwhelmed earlier today by this reality. Maybe it was just a funk I was in. Maybe it was the Creator meeting me at a place of deep longing for me; that I would see and love the world and people as He does. But then I ask myself do I really want this? Breaking this ignorance will be the opposite of bliss. I was at a coffee shop and asked the barista if they had any fair trade coffee. She looked at me like I was speaking Chinese (we are in Birmingham right now; they don't speak Chinese here). She had no idea what that meant. Surprisingly to me, a co-worker of hers did. She went to ask her manager if they had any. The did not; but they did have "American coffee" which was not "really bad." (There is probably some truth to this. If the whole coffee-bean-growing-picking process really did take place only in America it is a lot less likely folks were being enslaved). But I wasn't exactly sure what "American coffee" was. Then we were enjoying the Homecoming Parade before the Bama football game. It was my first time to see it (but not my first time to see a game there). It was designed to be a time of celebration. I was having a hard time getting into a celebratory mood. I couldn't stop thinking about the reality of millions of people in bondage at that very moment. Some of it a result of my ignorance or my unwillingness to embrace the reality that my decisions are affecting their lives. (By the way, I decided not to get the coffee.) Thousands of people being tortured, raped, oppressed; the exact opposite of the reality I was experiencing at that very moment. It was kind of bizarre. Kind of heart-breaking. Kind of a feeling of hopelessness. Mostly a feeling of deep sadness and mourning. This is not the Creator's dream for His creation. I wish I could forget it all.

Monday, October 27, 2008


At times I am overwhelmed by the preciousness of life. This happens when I look at or think of my daughter, and how small she is, and how precious this time is, and how big she will be some day. I want to embrace and just soak up every moment.

Friday, October 17, 2008

On Being a Dad

Being a dad is amazing. Sometimes it is just too much for me to handle when I look at her. I just want to cry. What a powerful set of emotions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

One of billions...but oh so precious

So even before we had the baby I always wrestled with how parents love their kids more than other peoples kids. It is not a bad thing at all. It is normal. But there is something in me that resists this. It is not that I don't love my baby more than others, because I do. There is a love growing in me, increasing each day, for this precious little life that God has entrusted to us. It is a love that is greater than my love for other little precious children. That's just how it is. But still something seems slightly off with this. The ultimate Creator of my daughter Isabella loves her and values her life just as much as every single little child on the entire earth, of every race, gender, and religion, poor or rich, evil or good, child of terrorist or not. There is something about this reality that compels me to feel the same way. I want to feel this same way. But I'd be lying if I said I did. I guess God has given Melissa and I this one life to take care of and nurture, to care for and love in a way that is different than the other billion children producing poopy diapers. But I can't help but desire to have and express the love my Creator has for all life, whether or not my blood flows through his/her veins. I think this has something to do with the call of Jesus to rethink what real family is. It is less a matter of flesh and blood and more a matter of the love one has for his God and other people, and how this love manifests itself in a life of obedience to the Maker of all things. LORD, grant me this eternal kind of love and courage.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Night and day.......and night........and day

Night and day, the normal indicators separating time into nice categories, don't really apply to my life right now. They haven't totally been eliminated. I still try to "go to sleep" at night when it is dark. But it doesn't usually happen like this. Changing diapers in the middle of the night cramps the sleeping style a bit. Time is more like a continuous 24 hour cycle, with the appearance of the sun and the moon less significant than normal. But I am actually enjoying it right now. I guess I should take advantage of this, because I know it won't last forever. But I am ok waking up in the middle of the night to be with my sweet baby daughter and help her with what she needs. And I know this helps my beautiful wife as well. I have a sense there is more to it than this, that this is Someone showing me what it means to be alive, to embrace each moment for the beauty and sacredness it possesses. This is what makes life life.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We wait no more

Well I officially am a dad. I think the whole thing is still starting to set in. Up to this point it has been quite a whirlwind of action with lots of people around. We went in last Friday night to have Melissa induced. I am glad we did. We were having a hard time making the decision because we did not want to make the wrong decision. The kicker was that I talked to my friend Tom who just the day before had their daughter and he told me that the doctor they were seeing based the due date on their ovulation schedule. If we used that for our due date we would have been 12 days overdue. Kaiser had our due date at the 24th. We had it at the 13th. Maybe it was somewhere in between. But when I came to the realization that if we were at a different doctor then we might have been considered 12 days overdue, the decision was an easy one. It was fun getting admitted and getting into our labor and delivery room. They gave Melissa something to ripen her cervix at 10:30 pm on Friday evening. I actually went to sleep at my brother's house that night in anticipation of a long next day and realizing it would be very helpful if I wasn't also exhausted. Melissa's sister Emily stayed with her in the room. When I showed up the next morning around 8am she was having little contractions, though she could not feel all of them. But they were already very close together between 1.5 - 3 minutes. That never changed throughout the whole laboring process. Well between noon and 3 the contractions started getting really bad. Melissa got something in her IV to help with the pain. She did not want to get an epideral.  After numerous hours of painful labor, she finally decided to get an epideral because the pain was simply unbearable. Here is something that became very clear during this whole process. It is very difficult for me to watch her go through immense pain and not be able to do anything about it. When she decided to get the epideral I was totally supportive. Besides the horrible pain (and she has a high tolerance to pain) Mel was also worried that if she didn't get the epideral she might be too exhausted to push when the baby was finally ready. Then the likelihood of a c-section increased and we definitely did not want that. So I was definitely wrong about thinking that the epideral is one simple little shot. I think the guy was messing around in her back for almost 10 minutes, or at least it seemed like that. And during that time she was at 7 cm and having real bad contractions. It was rough. But it was downhill from there. Not even an hour later she was at 10 cm and ready to push. Basically her body just needed to relax so she could go from 7 to 10 cm. She pushed for about 10 minutes and out came our baby daughter (to my surprise, I guess I just always assumed we would be having a boy) Isabella Mackenze at 11:44pm on Saturday evening. One thing I am very glad I did was actually watch my baby being born.  A friend of mine said he had watched his and did not recommend it. It was just too much. I am so glad I did. There is something miraculous about watching that (and fairly grotesque too, but I did not see it as that at the time, I think that is what is so powerful about it). So I think I am still coming to grips with the reality that I have a baby daughter.  I imagine as a little time goes by and things slow down a bit that it will really hit me. It already is. I just keep wanting to look at her. I also can't wait to see what she is really going to look like, meaning, to me, that she still kind of looks like all babies do which, to me, looks like a boy. I was recently looking at photos of me as a newborn with my mom and I think it was around a month or three months (I can't remember which one) where I could say "oh yeah that looks like me. I can't wait for that. But I can, because I know how fast time will go by and so I will enjoy my baby Bella every moment, savoring each one as a precious gift from the Giver of life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I'm not sure if I like transition or not. If I was smart I would. Life as a whole seems to be a time of transition. Whether or not you are on your way to a beautiful place of disembodied bliss (Plato), a glorious new physical existence on some sort of a new earth (Bible?), in the midst of a process of reincarnation, or simply getting old to die and disappear forever, we are all transitioning. I should also like transition because our life seems to be in more of a transition than most, most of the time, certainly right now. A lot of this is by choice. Construction projects lead to frequent moves. Trying to figure out what exactly the Creator is doing with us leads to frequent moves (I guess unless he writes a message in the sky. Haven't been that fortunate yet). I guess I could just say screw it to all of this and just settle somewhere, have a happy, safe life with the wife and kids, doing our own thing. Not a horrible option. But the second that happens is the second I feel the life of God starting to seep out of me, like a leak in a tire, not really a blowout on the highway. I can't do it. But it would be nice to be in a place of "settled transition." That doesn't seem like too much to ask for. It gets tiring wondering what the next step might be, not fully knowing what and where the final destination is that this step is a part of. But then I realize how silly this is. Even amidst the doubt I trust we are where we are supposed to be doing what we are supposed to be doing. I'll look back later with greater clarity. That's how it has worked before. So I guess I need to embrace this transition, and the rest of it that is coming in the future, hopefully with a little settledness in there here and there. Life is in the journey. If it is in the destination than I am not alive, just waiting to be.