Morning by Morning (11/30/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The return of the cool weather.  It is a welcome feeling and always great for drumming up the excitement of the season!
  2. The bus drivers and metro rail operators that cross this city.  As I am riding to work this morning I am noticing people from many walks of life who depend on the public transit and good well emotioned operators who manage both crazy traffic and lots of people.  
  3. The chance to attend the Institute of Spirituality and Health Annual Luncheon yesterday at the River Oaks Country Club.  It was a great lunch and very inspiring to see great doctors and businessmen valuing the role of spirituality in health care.  Dr Stasney and Dr Fuari are amazing doctors.

Morning by Morning (11/29/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Family.  Elana, Aiden, and Ryan have been joys to have and be around.  This season is a reminder of the joy of family.
  2. Randy Bowen, a nurse I served with at a death yesterday.  I am so amazed at his passion not just for being a nurse, but for parents and most of all, for his patient.  He is phenomenal at advocating for a child in the hospital and wearing his heart on his sleeve.
  3. Ryan’s joy at seeing Christmas lights. We drove around our neighborhood for 30 minutes looking at the lights and watching Ryan’s face get excited and wide eyed with all the colors and snowmen and Santas. Watching his face is priceless.
  4. Advent.  Seriously I love lighting the advent candles and reading advent devotionals.  I am appreciating then the opportunity to preach advent with Elana this Sunday.  Very special.

Morning by Morning (11/25/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Elana scheming to get me to a Thanksgiving meal! It seems to be a strength of hers to “manage” the adjustments of life.
  2. Making a bomb digging turkey with a simple recipe.  I hadn’t made one before but hats off to a dry brine and stuffing a turkey with apples and onions! (The turkey was my contribution to this meal since I couldn’t be there)
  3. Having a 45 minute FaceTime between Ryan and I and my whole family in So Cal while they enjoyed their Thanksgiving.  It was fun to see parents and my brother and Ryan’s cousins and aunts and uncles.  So glad Ryan got to have that too.

A Simple Thanksgiving Shout Out

So normally I would do a normal morning blog, but I couldn’t help but throw a shoit out and appreciation to the family that was so important for a good day yesterday. 

The Lucas family from church has always been good to me, and always invited me into their circle.  Sherry as the matriarch and Stephen and Dawn Marie have been oh so great in encouragement and support and tons of smiles.  I have also been blessed by their invitation to card night, which after a year of going to provided for some of the first fun interactions for me and Elana before dating.

Yesterday, as Thanksgiving plans got adjusted and we learned I wouldn’t be going to any Thanksgiving dinner, Elana and the Lucas family schemed for our family to go there for their feast, fellowship, and family time.  It was a super gracious offer, and one that was truly deep hearted. It made for a great Thanksgiving with a great feast- probably the best all around a Thanksgiving meal I have ever had.  It made for a great time of family- Sherry and Stephen have really been fantastic “family” for me who share my interests and understand me well. The laughs and stories and welcoming of a somewhat fussy Ryan was really wonderful. Stephen even joined me later at night for some hangout over soda and Ticket to Ride, which I really appreciated.

This is a good family and I am very grateful for their presence in my life.  Thank you Lucas! Thank you Sherry, Stephen, and Dawn Marie for the way you show compassion and sacrifice love and how to laugh well to my family.  God bless you!

Morning by Morning (11/23/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Thanksgiving Day being a day off.  It will be a nice break as I gear up for the stretch run before my parents come for Christmas.
  2. A refreshing rain this morning, which our trees and grass need.
  3. Christmas music, songs like O Come O Come Emmanuel, Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, and Carol of the Bells.
  4. Greg Himes, an old friend from Pepperdine who is a great frisbee player and was always so fun as my hangout during Lectureships.  Happy birthday!

Morning by Morning (11/22/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Late night conversations with Elana.
  2. Nicole Snyder, who married a great friend of mine and has brought him much happiness over theIt years of dating and months of marriage to this point. Happy birthday Nicole!
  3. Thornley Hoch, who I still celebrate and appreciate for his generosity and friendship.  Even as he ages into his 90’s he forgets others names, but always remembers my name and always asks “How’s Ryan?” every time he sees me.
  4. The new vanilla Life cereal.  I dig it.

Morning by Morning (11/21/16)

My daily gratitude for: 

  1. Our church’s singing of “In Christ Alone” yesterday.  Beautiful and brought me goosebumps.  It’s my favorite hymn and the one that summarizes the story of Christ so well.
  2. Lunch without kid(s) yesterday.  It had been a while since I had been out for lunch, and it felt weird…but nice.
  3. Warm blankets.  I ran a fever last night, went to bed early, and comforted myself with warm blankets.  I appreciated having some blankets that could be just mine through the night!

Morning by Morning (11/19/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Ryan’s health.  You know, toddlers get sick a lot, and Ryan has been sick this week.  With lots of snot, wet diapers, vomit, fussiness, I learn to appreciate more his healthy self.
  2. Playing well at disc golf.  I played well today and putted very well.  Plus, I love another win in my season long battle with Josh Day- 19-15 now.
  3. Ryan’s precious smile, which completely warms my heart.
  4. Elana giving me some time to play disc golf today.
  5. The upcoming joy of the Advent season, the season I most appreciate as a foundation of my faith and how I think about life and Gods abundant love. Come Lord Jesus.

Dying Cruelly Alone

I’ve seen grief.  Yep, I’ve seen somewhere around 750 families at various hospitals go through anticipatory grief and grief itself.  But sometimes I see something challenging, and not always good.

There we were, the medical team, a mother, a grandfather and me after chest compressions and a long slog of an afternoon for the medical team the whole afternoon trying to resuscitate this child. The compressions stopped, the child pronounced, her body dignified with a nice blanket. Just a couple seconds passed…

And yet there was only anger and hostility. Towards everyone. The family grated each other, full of judgment and blame since I wouldn’t of let that happen. The mother threw darts of disdain and heated vitriol towards anyone who dared console her.  The brewing tension over months and years stoked the fires that already wouldn’t go away. Mom fought, pushed, demanded, cut down, and screamed through every compassionate touch and calm voice. But here’s the catch.  The blame and anger focused their heat on those who had separated her from this child in the beginning, the bitterness of being deemed unworthy as a mom.  

And you know what, that’s legitimate grief. But…but…but…

I struggled.

I struggled so much to have empathy for this grieving and self consuming family.  

I struggled mightily. Still struggling in fact.

In the midst of all the anger about being separated, she ran.  And the child, young, innocent, pure, and now dead, lay separated again.  

Mom was grieving and is owed the right to grieve without a chaplains judgment.  But as a father I struggled to see why one would run from the little one that deserves dignity and love when life failed her.  I am struggling emotionally because while I understand, I stand heartbroken with the child who deserved the presence of a familial love, and this family’s grief and anger took them emotionally and physically far from the bedside.  

I know it’s judgment, but this post is not about that. It’s about my own compassion for a little girl and the life that was cruel regardless of what her family was or wasn’t doing out of grief.  And she died, cruelly alone.  That hurts.

That deserves a “why God” in and of itself.  

That sticks with me, and that little girl will not be forgotten.

Morning by Morning (11/16/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. A good nights rest, even with Ryan in bed most of the night.
  2. Hannah Watson, a very gifted violinist and a really compassionate person as well.  Happy birthday!
  3. All the people who support me after tough days and rough families and difficult deaths. Working in a children’s hospital ICU can take its toll.