How to Play

One thing I’ve noticed of late is the longer I’m married and the older my kids get, the harder it is to relate to unmarried people, or people with no kids. I imagine it’s like that for everyone. Single people talk about things like the latest movies, or what they did over the weekend. You can’t really relate because you haven’t been to the movies in a year, and what you usually do on the weekend is laundry and grocery shopping because both you and your wife work all week.

What is fun is getting together with other people in the same place as yourself and telling “my kid” stories–because one thing kids are is funny. My 18 month old, for instance. Time Warner has a channel here (2), which shows slides for local businesses and services while playing classic and current pop music, interspersed with the occasional classic rock tune. John likes to change it there and listen to the music while he watches the slides. Yesterday he was rocking out to Careless Whisper by Wham!

My older son was talking about something last night he called his “wiener-titty” and it was all I could do to stay composed long enough to figure out he meant “nipple.” I don’t remember why he mentioned it.

Married couples with kids have tons of stories like this, and you need to hear them to balance out the terror and uncertainty of child-rearing. Make no mistake, as hard as baby-sitting might seem at times, it ain’t got nothing on being a full-time parent, especially a stay at home parent. I only do that once in a while when I have time off and at the end of the day I just want to hang out with my wife for a little while and talk about things that aren’t about video games or cartoons.

My boys have so much energy, and while it’s catching for the first part of the day, usually by about 1500 I feel like Tokyo after Godzilla came through. Sometimes I wonder if they haven’t been to an al Al-Quaeda training camp.

I think I found the problem this morning, after being home with John all day, and David in the afternoon the day before.

I forgot how to play.

In the mess of work, and church, and family, and life, I forgot how to play.

My kids will be happy to teach me again, and I am looking forward to learning.
This morning, God had a word for me when I sat down to read. It may be for you, too.

Enjoy your kids, tiring as they may be. Remember how to play, and wrestle, and throw a ball, and have tea parties, and draw pictures, and color, and get dirty.

Remember how to play.
Life is different now, and that’s OK.

Kicked in the Nuts

Last Wednesday morning I woke up feeling completely spent–like I could sleep for about a year and it wouldn’t be enough. It seems like the alarm clock has been going off at 0400 forever. I went out to the living room like I usually do to do my reading, but this morning I could hardly stay awake enough to do it, so in the interest of not dozing off and waking up at 0600 when Jenny got up, I decided to just get ready for work earlier instead.

That woke me up, but it didn’t get me any more focused. I gave up and left for work. I asked God to give me a little better perspective on my work. I’ve been having a problem being grateful for what I have, and growing almost resentful about all that I have been missing in regard to my family and my kids. I listened to XM63, The Message, while driving to work, and the last song I heard before I drove up to the gate really kicked me in the nuts—it was by Mark Schultz, and I think it was called “He Was Walking Her Home.”

It made me think about my wife. I hope we have 80 years together, but even if we don’t, after a little while, we’ll have forever.

After getting to my office, I decided to listen to more music on the way to my test site, so I popped in my ear buds, and put the Iphone on shuffle. Got kicked in the nuts a bunch more times:

1. What Love Really Means by JJ Heller

2. Glorious Day by Todd Agnew

3. Give Me Words To Speak by Aaron Shust

4. Washed by the Water by Needtobreathe

5. Where I Belong by Building 429

6. God by Stryper

7. Come to the Water, by Matt Maher

8. Alaba el Padre by En Espiritu y en Verdad

And because my Iphone is crazy:

9. Big Ten Inch Record by Aerosmith

I think it’s going to be a good day.

Indiana Wilkins and the Temple of Prose

Everyone has different gifts.

This is something I have heard a great deal over the course of my life, especially since moving to Yuma. I married into a family that was extremely gifted musically, and I am not…similarly gifted. I can carry a tune enough not to embarrass myself, but I am not the lifelong singer my wife and her father are.

As if that weren’t enough, they can also play. My wife plays the flute beautifully, and Ken plays anything with strings and several without. Jenny’s brother John is an amazing rock drummer, and my 7 year old son is already a better drummer than I would be if I lived to be a 1000 years old.

I can’t bang a triangle at dinner time.

That used to bum me out a little because I felt like I would fit better in the family if I could play something. I would see them up there playing and worshipping and I would feel like I was missing something.

And then I realized this is my act of worship; writing. I sing my praises through a keyboard instead of a microphone.

God gave me a decent enough brain, and the ability to turn a written phrase—and I do not have the fear that many do to speak in front of people, thanks to 4 years in the drama class of the incomparable Ed Hollingsworth.

So this is what I do.

I write.

I speak my mind to a captive audience of perhaps two or three readers. What I was meant to do? This may be part of it, but certainly not all of it.

Now, approaching my mid-40’s, I find myself heeding the still, small voice, and doing something I would have not even considered the possibility of just a few short years ago, prior to marrying the amazing Jennifer Wilkins.

I’m going to bible college.

Where that will take me, I do not know with any kind of certainty. I do know it is the right thing to do, and the obedient one.

So I will read, and study, and write—unfortunately, this will mostly consist of essays. And the occasional short burst of something like this, time permitting.

The adventure continues…

Six Arms

Work has been a little tough lately. Not so much the job itself—I feel pretty comfortable performing all the tasks assigned to me. This particular test, however, has been a great many hours, and the end of it is a long way off. Consequently, I have been pretty tired, and when I am tired, it is easy to think negative thoughts, and sometimes forget to be grateful for all I have been blessed with.

The other night I was driving home after a 13 hour workday, and all I could think about was that I was hungry, and wondering when I would be able to go to sleep. I knew there were likely a couple things to take care of at home—including catching up on reading for my New Testament class—but none of that interested me.

I parked my car, and realized with a start that I was allowing negativity to consume me when really I had been absolutely flooded with blessing. I had a job when so many people in town didn’t. I had a family that loved me when many were alone. I was going to go inside and eat dinner and sleep in a bed when so many were homeless and hungry.

I asked God to remind me of my blessings, and help me to find a way to glorify Him with my work. Then I got out of my car and walked to my front door.

I stood in front of the door and gathered my thoughts for a few seconds. As I opened the door, I heard my wife’s voice say “Daddy’s home,” and I walked inside.

“Dada,” said John, standing right next to the door. He wrapped his arms around my legs, and then lifted them to me. I scooped him up. David came over and hugged me around my middle. Then Jen put her arms around me and gave me a kiss.

Thanks, God, I thought.