Morning by Morning (4/10/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Getting my back adjusted and getting to provide pastoral care to the chiropractor during and after!
  2. Good counseling.
  3. Warm days after a chilly weekend.
  4. Talking with my dad. I hope I love my son when he’s older like my dad loves on me now.
  5. A really good beer after a good day.
  6. Peacemakers among us, especially in our churches.
  7. Being able to say that I’m not okay as often as I say and the people that are good to hear it.

Morning by Morning (4/9/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. My Southwest Central care group and their support.
  2. Stephanie Allen, an RN who has advocated and provided such loving gentle care to one of favorite families as their child has been dying. She has been such an amazing RN to this family and is a great friend to me!
  3. Sitting with the PICU staff at lunch. Such great people.
  4. Ryan’s comfort walking into daycare, which is growing all the time and helping me feel great about his new school.
  5. Being able to push snooze on my alarm in the mornings.
  6. Good listeners.

Walking Alone With Courage

Courage is hard.

I’ve seen the quotes about courage not being about the lack of fear but not letting fear stop us, or having strength in the face of fear. These are true. Very much so.

But one thing they don’t tell you in “life can suck” school or the “you will get hurt” school is how courage is so intensely personal. It’s not that life is all about doing it alone or that there aren’t people to support you. It’s just that when a nightmare stares you in the face, no one else can face it for you. When failure finds me, no one else, no matter how loving, can remove that failure or make it a success. No one else can dare to enter the darkness that I face, because they just can’t and they have their own to face. Braving a wilderness can be done together with a lot of friends, but my wilderness requires my first step, my tears, my pain, my rising from struggle, my wrestling. We may have a cloud of witnesses cheering us on, but I still must choose to walk forward into that journey.

I am not writing this because I feel alone because people aren’t around me or because I am unsupported. That is not true- I am more supported than I have ever been during the divorce process. I have been blessed by so many good folks and dinners and encouragement cards. This has been amazing. But even then, there are more moments where loneliness crawls up, when people cannot be present, and I just can’t keep avoiding being alone.

And I do feel alone, a lot, and painfully so. And I have to in order to brave this wilderness. Being a single parent is hard, being separated is hard, being angry or hurt is hard, and missing people is hard. But I can’t continue moving back into life unless I also face the loneliness of my life and not fill every gap with other people. There are emotions others can’t bear. There are hurts others can’t bind. There are challenging thoughts that cut deeper than any friend or girlfriend or wife or parent can comfort. There is loneliness that not even my sons presence can fix. Darkness is heavy like that. Having courage is intensely personal because I have to accept that others cannot bring full light to my fully dark place.

God can.

God does.

Only if I have the courage to feel alone, to wrestle with the reality of aloneness as Jacob did before his wrestling with God at the Jabbok. God is the presence I seek who will not abandon because his steadfast love endures forever. At least, I am trying to trust in that now. This is a hard time because I want to talk about my fear, my anger, and my hurt all the time, but it is mine to carry to the foot of the cross. I want to process what’s going on and what I am struggling with in terms of fatherhood and what I am hoping for- there are many who care for those things and want to help me. But as a single parent, I find myself challenged with more alone time than time with friends. And in that alone time, I must do what needs to be done. Pray to the God who hears. Pray what’s on my heart. Pray for what I want. Pray, cry, laugh, resolve, and light the fire in my soul that only Gods love can light.

Courage in this journey of life is a personal work, because it is what God is doing in me to choose courage over comfort or control. God is working in Rome to choose forgiveness over fear, and humility over anger. God is working in me to see light where darkness has tried to make its home.

God will do so, if I am willing to feel lonely enough and allow my life to be empty enough for his gentle hands and grace filled love to enter in.

Morning by Morning (4/7/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. When Ryan gets in my bed in the mornings and always finds a way to get a toe or foot touching me. It’s really sweet.
  2. Daydreaming. Wondering while bored. You know what I’m talking about. I’m grateful for where my imagination wanders in those times and the ways I get clarity in life as I daydream.
  3. The daily emails I get from Fatherly, which are helpful as I love through divorce and continue growing as a father.
  4. Enneagram wisdom, not because it has all the keys, but for painting a good abstract for me to start with.
  5. Hugs.
  6. Dad jokes.
  7. The excitement of a box just arrived with new discs for disc golf and the anticipation of opening it!!

Morning by Morning (4/6/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The strength that God is giving me in this process to pursue life, pursue Ryan’s best interest, and to stand up for myself.
  2. Being a part of TCH expansion into our new Legacy Tower!!! It’s so exciting!!
  3. Actual fresh California walnuts, which are amazingly tasty! Thanks Phil Rice!
  4. Play dates for Ryan.
  5. The positive use of anger to process and move forward in challenging circumstances.
  6. Getting to walk from my parking garage into work, which I use to enjoy the sunshine, nice weather, fresh air, and lots of reflection.
  7. Meeting apartment neighbors and feeling welcomed.

Morning by Morning (4/5/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The coastal feel in my apartment, which is minimal, but still there, and I love it! It’s very comforting to think of the beach when I’m in my place.
  2. Hanging out with King Mbani, a college kid at my church who I love and care for greatly. King was able to come to my place this week, hang with Ryan, and play cards with me. I love his joy, his honesty, and his friendship beyond our teen room.
  3. The gentleness of our PICU nurses, which can be overlooked, but is a profoundly deep part of their care inasmuch as advocacy and intellect.
  4. Ryan’s curly hair.
  5. Ryan’s talkativeness and constant speaking!

Morning by Morning (4/4/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Morning workouts. I appreciate the ability to move and use my muscles… (the very little I have!)
  2. The beautiful patterns of clouds…which I know makes me sound quite hippy…but seriously they can be beautiful.
  3. Silent time for reflection.
  4. Caring for Ryan after he’s fallen and scraped himself. It’s meaningful because I love knowing Ryan is playing hard (hence a fall) and because I love the feeling that I can make him feel bette with a kiss and bandaid. What a great feeling!

Morning by Morning (4/3/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The Daily Lectionary. I don’t always get to it every morning but I love the consistent reading.
  2. Seeing X and M today after three days off from the hospital. These two kids and their families are amazing encouragements and models of resilience for me.
  3. A good day with Ryan yesterday, from splashing in the pool to visiting the zoo, to stoping for ice cream cones, and bath time with toy boats!
  4. A clean house. I love that I walk into a clean home every day and it feels so refreshing.
  5. Bailey, my dog, and his friendship during this season.
  6. The breath that fills my lungs and brings me calm.
  7. Having TV and getting to watch basketball. I know it is a privilege to have my TV and to be able to pay the bills to keep it on.

Morning by Morning (4/2/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The relaxation and renewing that happens watching the beach all day and taking in the sound of waves crashing along the shore.
  2. Singing “In Christ Alone” on Easter. It is just amazing and inspiring.
  3. Colorful Easter eggs with lots of surprises in them. Ryan’s hunt have brought us lots of good bounty of chocolates and toys!
  4. Releasing. I took time in the beach shore yesterday to release my wedding ring and tangibly continue letting go.
  5. Kristen and Jacob Schapson and their gentle love and incredible commitment to each other as friends and partners.

Morning by Morning (3/31/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The opportunity to christen a child yesterday, which was even more meaningful as the father was a single dad who manages two kids including his medical special needs boy. Reading Psalm 139 and Romans 8 and anointing him was just a gift!
  2. Dinner at Velvet Taco with Megan last night. Fantastic queso, fantastic tacos, and loved hanging out with Megan and her dog Mowgli!
  3. Blood donation, as a way to give back for all the great kids who have blessed me at Texas Children’s Hospital.
  4. Getting to spend a lot of time chatting with the PICU nurses during the last two days and trying to listen to their stresses and worries and be an encouragement to them.
  5. Being in Houston with our current sports teams! So exciting!!