Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Change (Full Circle?)

Approximately three years and almost a month ago, my contract ended with VCU Health Systems as a Resident Chaplain.  Since that time, I have been a stay-at-home dad, and have experienced all the magnificence of serving that role, and also some of the hardships regarding personal identity, social interactions, career development, etc....  I've had the wonderful experience of candidly writing about being a stay-at- home dad.  Shameless Plug.  Most of all I've had the up and down struggle where I want to go back to work full time and having a difficult time finding employment, not ready to put the little one in school.

As the munchkin shows daily that she is, and has been ready for a preschool environment, I've allowed myself to really strive to go work full-time especially since the relocation to TN.  As I made it Facebook official yesterday, I've been hired; and I am so lucky/thankful and I am actually blessed enough to land a "dream job."

(This is where the Full Circle part comes in.)  I'm going back to the place where I started my employment the summer before my 9th grade year:  the Y.  I put about 10 seasons in at that facility, and when I left back then, it was reluctant.  Yet my journey through today has equipped me to go back more prepared and ready to actually "go back".  So, full circle?  Sure.  Giving back to the organization in the exact facility (with some updates/additions/improvements); giving back to the "home community"; and through some new programs some giving back to my elementary school/high school/undergrad and other schools in those systems.  Excited?  You better believe it!

Now here is the hard part:  change.  I'm a creature of habit.  I like my routines.  I have overall enjoyed the past three years and one month of non-employment/part-time employment.  So on Monday, as I really commute to work for the first time, I'm taking the munchkin to preschool (at the church where I used to be Youth back.)  All of that, well, scares and excites me, while eliciting a sadness regarding the end of our partnership in crime AND the fact that in a blink of my eye, she'll be 18 and going to college.  Wasn't it just last month when she laughed for the first time?  Last week she started walking?  Yesterday talking? This morning riding her bike?  Yeah, it feels that way.  She's so small, but so big.

So as I readily and excitedly head back to the realm of full-time employment, I also drag my feet and envision her new teacher having to tell me, "She'll be okay.  Aren't you late for work?"  I'll agree.  Rip it like a band-aid, and tearfully shuffle back to the Jeep, hoping that the one mile drive to work up Cook Drive gives me enough time to recollect myself.

Monday.  It'll happen.  We could use an extra prayer or two.


Speaking of Full Circle.  When I started this stay at home gig, sometime after my wife reluctantly trudged off to work, but prior to 8am, Little Bit would wake up and need to be fed.  I dutifully changed her, fed her, and rocked her right back down for the early(not time to start the day yet) nap.  We would tuck in on the spare bed, pillows/wall blocking her on the right.  My right arm shaped liked an "n" pulling her close to me.  Essentially she was tucked in against me.  We would sleep and log another 45min-60min of sleep.  Slowly that dwindled and changed.

Today, while the Munchkin was refusing to take an afternoon nap, and I was trying to get one in before I lose all nap privileges, she shuffled down into our bedroom and hopped the bed.  I asked, "wanna take a nap?"  "In mommy-daddy's bed?  Sure!"  She scooted under the covers and scrunched right up to my right side, just like we used to do.  Perfect way to end this chapter for me.  Hope she'll try again tomorrow and Friday.  Full Circle.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sage wisdom.

Somedays, it just hits me that I've missed gaining so much wisdom by not fully appreciating the day-to-day hanging out with a three year old.  Today is Friday, which by the end of the work week for the employed means a reprieve from work.  Patience is usually thinner on Friday, but people are given a break simply because it's Friday.

For me, sometimes Friday signals the end of the week where I'm not rocking it solo wrestling the ball of pure energy (sprinkled with a dash of sass, and on this Friday, attitude.)  I'm a little short with her because of the attitude, but here's the kicker, she's short with me too.  She's a bit tired, ready for mommy to be here with "a T-shirt" because the t-shirt signals home for the day/weekend for the munchkin.  Then, just when I'm at the "you're going to have an early nap!" moment, she pulls out the extended grace.  I'm asked, "Can you help me with the bwocks?  I want to build a swimmy-pool castle with you."  I might have been suckered in, but really, the next block of time spent was more positive and loving than expected.  So suckered in?  I think not.

Grace.  Not giving you what you deserve.  I probably deserve a melt-down for not showing my usual kindness.  Yet, there she is with her humidity adjusted hair, sitting in the floor with her blocks.  Thanks munchkin.  Even though you're too young to understand the words, your gift to me will now be extended back to you, your mother, and any other soul I come into contact with today.

I need to pay more attention.  The Lord (and my wife) gave me three+ years spending time with this magnificent creation; and sometimes I just don't see what's in front of my face.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hope is a Dangerous Thing.

So, I don't know if the phrase is a cliche, famous saying or what, but I believe it's true.  Think about it.  To be candid, my high school football team, normally doesn't have a winning chance against the cross-creek rival.  Yet every year we hope that this will be the year and the kids play their guts out.  Hope.  It's the busting your butt every day at a job you hate, just because you hope your children won't have to.  Hope.  Hope for change, gives people reason not to commit suicide, or to battle addiction, or to face the horrific effects of chemo.  Hope instills drive to do the impossible.  When hope is non-existent, people quit.  In the right hands, hope is truly dangerous.


So, I've been thinking again, which as I might have mentioned before is dangerous.  I feel like out of all of God's magnificent creation, that the most sacred of it is humanity.  Man/woman was/is made Imago Dei, in the image of God.  Nothing else is, I feel that is a trump card.  Internally, I'm placing the sacred person in juxtaposition with the sacred text of the Bible.  As I read in an article that interviewed one of my former professors, he stated something akin that the Bible should be a moral conversation point for dialogue and not the end of the discussion.

I think, too often, the Bible is used to end the conversation in regards to peace, love, and justice ignoring the sacred Imago Dei of those who are different than us.

Just a thought.