Finding Our Night-Night Place

Here I am again on the couch. John woke up at 430, exactly when I did–maybe he heard my alarm. I get up that early so I have time to have breakfast, and throw lunch together or take a shower. More importantly, that’s my morning devo time.

Well, trying to get a semi-fussy toddler back to sleep precludes all but the last of those things. And so it was that I ended up in my spot with a baby on my shoulder, and talking to God.

I spoke softly, but I did pray aloud, and it wasn’t until he heard the sound of my voice that John stopped squirming and started going back to sleep.

I think we do that, too. Sometimes life makes us squirm–life, in all its messiness with all its pitfalls and all its pain.

We get so caught up in whatever is going on it’s hard to calm down. This morning John needed a few things to calm him down and get him back to his “night-night” place. Sometimes we need that, too.

I think most of all, it was the sound of a calming voice (I prayed over him and sang softly into his ear) and the feeling of comfort that comes from feeling daddy’s arms.

That’s what we need, too, sometimes. We need to hear daddy’s voice and feel his love.

I think that looks and feels a little different for everyone. With some people, that love manifests through reading scripture. For others, it comes from hearing his voice through song, or from the gentle breeze of his voice through prayer, or maybe some other way.

It’s different for everyone.

The world and our troubles can fall away when we allow ourselves to hear from our abba, however he speaks to us.

So amazing when that happens. This morning, it happened for John, and for me through a fussy baby. The night before, I got to carry David back to his bed (won’t be able to do that much longer!). Anyway, I won’t get back to my night-night place until after practice tonight, unfortunately.

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I Have Decided

John woke up at 530 today, and like so many other times we ended up on the couch with him snoozing and breathing gently on my shoulder-those little puffs of baby breath more precious than gold. I do some of my best thinking and praying while holding babies or maybe just watching the kids play sometimes.

This is what occurred to me today. As a believer, I may not have the understanding of my San Diego family, at least as far as them believing what I believe, or not sometimes thinking I may have imbibed a little too much of “the Kool-Aid.” I may not have the support of much of the country, because it certainly seems to be trending toward Godlessness. For my own part–because I am not perfect–I may even have doubts sometimes about the goodness of God, especially when I see some of the jacked up stuff going on out there in the big, wide, ugly world.

But the young man I am holding needs me, and trusts me, and looks to me to know how to live. The one sleeping down the hall does, too, even if we struggle sometimes.

The woman sleeping in our bed, in our home, in the life we’ve made for ourselves loves me, too. She needs me to be capable, and Godly, and strong. On my own, I am none of those things.

I am weak, and callow, and filled with all manner of vile things.

But I am not on my own, not since March of 2000.

That’s when I decided I needed a savior.

For my family, for my home, for my future, for myself, I had to (and have to) make a decision for myself, even if it means a lot of things in my life will suffer because of it:

I Would Do Anything

I can’t think of anything worse than when the kids are sick. Not because it’s typically messy, or gross, or I don’t like cleaning up their puke or their snot or their (literal) crap. Not because of what it does to me.

Because of what it does to them.

Their playfulness becomes helplessness in the face of whatever is making them sick. Their joy is replaced with fever, or coughing, or whatever their symptoms are. It sucks worse than just about anything.

When the boys were sick last weekend there was a point where David had just gotten done throwing up in pretty much every room of the house and John was coughing like crazy. Jen was in the bedroom dealing with her own flu and I had just gotten the boys chilled out and resting.

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I remember thinking I would gladly bear their illnesses if it were only possible. I would do anything to assuage their suffering.

I thought that again just now, at 0644, on the day before thanksgiving. I’m holding John as he sleeps and praying the antibiotics do their thing and we don’t need to take any more drastic measures, like the hospital.

I would take his pneumonia in a heartbeat and I would bear it gladly.

The conviction that just slammed into me is that’s how God feels about us. Ultimately, he didn’t just cure our illness (which was terminal). He gladly bore it for us, and he experienced everything on our behalf. He bore all, and suffered all, and he died.

God died.

For me. For my sons.

I can feel the baby breathing against my chest as I thumb type this, and I’m thinking about how much God loved the world.

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I think about how much I love my kids, and that I would stop at no length to protect them from anything. I would be sickened, or beaten, or humiliated, even killed. I would literally do anything for them.

That’s what Jesus did.

Of Raisin Nut Bran and the Man With No Nose

I suppose I’ll never learn. Today, everything was going smoothly enough. David was ready early, and had already eaten breakfast. John was watching the ambiguously gay dinosaur and minding his own business and I realized I hadn’t yet gone “PeePee.”

It seemed like I had time for a quick standup, so I hurried to the back to take care of my business. I left the door open to listen for screams and was about 5 seconds into things when I heard the pantry door slide open.

“John Ryan, get out of the closet!”

I heard the door slide closed and hurriedly finished up. I had just flushed when I heard “oh, no!” from the living room.

“Aw, crap.”

I rushed toward the living room and was greeted in the hallway by a guilty-looking toddler.

“Daddy, eat food.”

“I’ll get you something to eat, but first I have to clean up whatever you just did.”

“Daddy, hi.”

“Hi, John. Let ‘s go see what happened.”

What happened was that John found big brother’s cereal.

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“Wonderful.”

I figured cleanup would have to wait until we got back from taking David to school, so we all loaded up and got going.

We dropped David off, and headed to Albertsons to pick up a few things. We were in the dairy section when I saw an older gentleman with no nose pushing a shopping cart. He had a bandage taped flatly to his face, without a bulge underneath. John, of course, was kind enough to point him out to me in his absolutely loudest voice.

“Daddy! What’s that?” (which is pronounced, ‘Daddy, zat?’)

“He’s shopping, buddy. Same as us.” I pushed the cart to the veggie section at warp speed.

We finally got home with no more incidents, and John was kind enough to help with the cleanup in the living room.

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I fixed John some “toe” and made myself some eggs and veggie sausage. John took a single bite of toe, and then decided his cleanup efforts had been too exhausting to continue.

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The rest of the day should be interesting.