Category Archives: Growing Up

…And Now I Know What to Change

bobby posting:

I spent all of last week as a Kaleo (leader) at a Christian sports camp called Kids Across America.  I’d been told that as a leader, the whole week would be a “bubble bath in Jesus.”  Sure enough, when I got to camp, there was a notecard on my bunk that said just that.  This week was about relaxation and rejuvenation and restoration.  But for me, it became about so much more.  I found myself growing significantly spiritually in all sorts of ways.  The  most profound though, was during our Men’s Bible study time.  The camp director took a room full of pastors and youth leaders and volunteers and walked us through a Biblical view of conflict.  I’m hoping that time changed the course of the rest of my life.  I know that’s a big statement, but I’m good at making those.  And I earnestly want it to be true.  Perhaps you can even join me in the change.

– –

During our first session, our teacher asked us to play word association with the word “conflict”.  Men all across the room began throwing out words:  misunderstanding, hurt, shame, loss, pain.  I chimed in with “tension.”  I could even feel my body clench as I said it out loud.  Conflict has always created that reaction in me.  Maybe it’s the peacemaker in me, that whole middle child thing, intervening and settling down and hoping for everyone to just get along.

We would’ve gone around the room again with more negative words and sour faces if it weren’t for Taido, my friend and mentor.  There was a lull, a quiet hush, and then Taido spoke up.

“Opportunity,” he said.

“What was that?” our teacher asked.

“Conflict creates opportunity.”

Opportunity?  Taido’s good at stuff like this.  He has a knack for always flipping the coin to the other side.  And usually, the other side of the coin looks pretty good.  If not always shinier, at least more interesting.

A light bulb clicked all around the room.  Conflict creates opportunity…for good.  Sure it wouldn’t be easy, but looking at conflict through the eyes of Christ changed things.  Immediately.  It was as if a veil had been removed from our eyes.  I know I began to see clearly.

You know all that pain and frustration I wrote about yesterday…the kind that came from seeing my friends always hugging and laughing after those “serious conversations”?  Well all that rose to the surface because I couldn’t possibly believe that conflict could create anything good, much less anything better than before.  I thought of conflict as a necessary evil, not a potential blessing.  Certainly not as an opportunity for God to have great victory in our lives.

But isn’t that the story of our God over and over and over again?  Isn’t this the God I know and love and follow?  Isn’t our God the one who came in the face of conflict and conquered it?  On the other side of that conflict, did the Apostles become bitter and broken?  Or did they come to life in ways they’d never dreamed of before?  Look at the Disciples in the Gospels.  Then look at them in the book of Acts.  They’re hardly recognizable.  So what happened?

Conflict.  At its worse.  Opportunity.  At its best.

– –

You ever set yourself up for failure?  I’m pretty bad about it.  Big, giant sweeping statements.  Writing blog posts about change that’s gonna come.  That kinda stuff.  I can already tell you where I’ll be weakest.  How do I know?  Because in the few days since I’ve been back from camp, I’ve already taken note of where I’m still missing the mark.

The little things.  Yep, those same little things that I’ve written about before.  Love is in the little things, right?  And in all the little things, where the conflict usually starts, that’s where I’m forgetting that “opportunity” is still sitting right there, waiting to be discovered and put into action.  I find myself waiting to pull out “opportunity” when the BIG conflict comes.  When a relationship is falling apart or a friend is let down terribly by a job or bad situation.

But opportunity’s knocking at spilled milk as well.  It’s tapping on your shoulder when you and your spouse are communicating terribly that day.  It’s whispering in your ear as you’re confronted over something you forgot to do.  It’s there beside you as you get tired late in the day and become selfish and lazy.  It’s everywhere.  In the BIG and little.

Conflict creates opportunity.  Do you see it?  I’ll keep trying to show you.  I’ll keep trying to see it myself.  Seeing is believing.  Believing in something good out of something bad?  That’s everything.


A Change is Gonna Come

bobby posting:

A few months ago, I came across a statement that went something like this:  if you can’t remember the last time you changed your mind about anything significant, than perhaps you’re not willing to grow.  About a month after I read that little nugget, a group of guys posed this question to me:  how will the way you live your life look different five years from now?  Needless to say, the idea of change has been cycling through me like Lance on a climb.  I had no desire to become some old, crusty curmudgeon, stuck in my ways to the bitter end.  I wanted to grow.  And if you know anything about our God, if you admit to being willing to be stretched, well he answers that kind of prayer.  Gladly.  Certainly.  2011 has since, certainly been a year of growth.  Here’s just one of the changes I believe is coming out of me.  At least, I sure hope it is.

– –

In 2004, I made what I considered to be one of the wisest decisions of my young life.  I decided to move in with three of my best friends into a nice little, apartment right off campus.  The ViaChicago boys all living under the same roof for the first…and last…time.  Four solid Christian men together, constantly pushing each other further down the road to love and servanthood.  Well, that’s what we all desired going into the experiment.  But that year was tough.  We were all going through difficult things in our personal lives and collectively had a hard time managing expectations for this unit living together…as one unit.

The hardest part, though, was managing conflict.  Because we were all “solid Christian men”, we felt the need to constantly correct each other.  We’d sit down and have “serious conversations” and poke and prod for the deeper err beneath the error.  Frankly, I hated it.  And I let it show.  All.  The.  Time.

On a scale of 1-10, my ability at dealing with conflict was somewhere between zero and zero point one.  I hate to admit failure, but I sucked at conflict management.  Terribly.  I’d shut down and roll my eyes and respond with sarcasm.  And that’s when I would actually respond.  Most of the times I’d do my best to avoid the conversations altogether.  I’d dart from conflict like a deer after a rifle shot.  There’s a certain story that about me and a 2-on-2 basketball game and a shove and an f-bomb and me sprinting off into the night…but we don’t need to get into that.

As much as I hated being in the conflict itself, though, I hated even more the aftermath of the moment.  It just ate me alive.  The other three guys would come through the muck and mire with smiles on their muddy, ruddy faces.  They were somehow closer than they’d been before.  There’d be boyish laughter and manly hugs.  Hope would conquer heartache and new life would spring forth like a good rain.  For everyone.  Except me.

I’d sit there with my head tilted and eyes squinted, looking back and forth at these guys with a strange mixture of confusion and disgust.  How could these men enjoy each other’s company right now?  How could things magically be all good again?  How could anyone be for the better after conflict?

Conflict for me simply created more conflict.  It did not create anything of value.  And I couldn’t imagine a world in which anything was different.  I looked at my friends as inauthentic and insincere.  The thought that conflict had crafted them into something stronger, had chipped away and fashioned a faithfulness and fidelity among them was beyond my thought process.  Like a toddler with times tables, the concept was not only foreign, it seemed utterly useless.  Out of my reach.  Until recently.  Really recently, actually.  Like maybe a week ago recently.  A light bulb finally clicked.  Better late than never…

And that’s where we’ll go tomorrow.

Little Big Words

bobby posting:

To make it in the punditry business, you have to draw lines in the stand and hold your ground.  There’s no middle space in between for moderates.  From sports to politics to religion, people want someone shouting out extremes.  At least some people do, certainly not a “moderate” like myself, though.  Which lets you know that I would never have made it as a pundit.

I find myself thinking these thoughts after reading brave, bold declarations by two great theologians.  A couple of which I’d love to share with you today.

– –

I remember being struck by Richard J. Foster’s thoughts on prayer in “Celebration of Discipline” the first time I read them years ago.  It was one of those moments that caused me to stop and consider and reconsider and begin the whole considering process all over again.  And again.  Like a dog with a bad itch, I just had to keep searching and scratching and…

Foster writes, “Of all the Spiritual Disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father.”  I immediately wrote in the margins of my copy of the book, “Do I believe this?”  Certainly if you looked at my life, if you studied the hours (or lack thereof) of my prayer time, the answer would come clear to you.  Or maybe not so clear, actually.  Because I really do think that I believe prayer is the most central, it’s just that my desire for “perpetual communion” isn’t exactly regularly focused on centering in on anything close to God.  I am all too selfish, all too regularly.  Which I’ve already written about before, so we’ll keep going.

Foster wrote with clarity and belief a big, bellowing statement.  Not meditation or fasting or study or service or worship…but prayer.  Prayer is the most central.  Maybe it’s middle child syndrome, that whole peace-maker mentality, but I feel like I can sit here and argue for anything at any time.  The ultimate defense lawyer.  My Mother hates this about me.  Most of the time, she just wants to complain about something that sucks in her life.  She doesn’t want me to try to bring clarity and weight to the other side.  She just wants me to agree with her and join her in the muck and mire.  She wants some company.  I wish someone would have explained that to me years ago about women.

So instead of defending any of the other spiritual disciplines, I find myself agreeing with Foster.  Prayer must be the most central.  Not just because he says so, not just because he defiantly throws it out there and leaves no room for argument.  But because prayer is us boldly and bravely communicating with God.  Face to face.  In a way that is contrary to any and every other religion or thought out there.  Relational interaction with the maker of the universe.  Pretty big stuff going on there.

But the point of this post was not intended to be what Foster said, but how he said it.  Which brings me now to Oswald Chambers.

– –

There have been a few fruitful seasons in my life in which Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest” has played a daily role.  The past month has been one of those times.  We recently gave this book out to our graduating high school Seniors, so I’ve had a copy on my desk for a while.  Today, Oswald’s words cut through like a knife.  The Holy Spirit was alive and prodding.  Through another great declaration.

Chambers begins, “Drudgery is the test of genuine character.”  And then he continues with this nugget, “The greatest hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will only look for big things to do.  Yet, ‘Jesus…took a towel and…began to wash the disciples’ feet…’.”

The most, the greatest…these are large words.  Written with conviction and certainty.  The only thing I’ve ever been certain of in my life with great conviction is my great affinity towards and weakness for dark chocolate.  Sorry wife.  Sorry Jesus.  Crap, that probably should’ve been in a different order.  Oh well, at least you know where my real heart is on a regular basis.

But seriously, Chambers can write with honesty and truth that he knows the greatest hindrance in our spiritual life.  And I can’t sit here and argue.  I tried to play the part of the defense lawyer this morning, but I couldn’t even get there.  Maybe it’s because I really, earnestly believe love and life is in the little things, maybe it’s because I’d been wrestling with putting a VIA post together for a month now but hadn’t felt the BIG inspiration for it, maybe it’s because I was stuck in the drudgery and was ready to get out.  Whatever it was, I appreciated it.  Greatly.

– –

I can promise you something right here, right now, with all the punch and lack of panache only a pundit can provide, I’ll never be great at dropping loud, piercing, matter-of-fact, earth shattering, declarative bombs.  And while the ones on TV that yap their mouths off louder than a baby crying in church will never actually speak in a volume that I can rightfully hear, I’m grateful for the force and forthright manner in which the Holy Spirit uses certain writers to speak certain truths into my heart.

I can hear them.  And I can respond.  Even if the response is something little.  Like a blog post.

Acedia. Me. And You. Part Two

bobby posting:

While jogging a few weeks ago, I took a turn down a street I normally pass by.  This is nothing new for me.  I like to try and get a little lost while running.  It keeps the exercise fresh.  Kinda like role playing.  I’m kidding.  Maybe.

I also like to look at houses while I’m out there.  Jogging.  I’m perpetually on the search for our dream house.  You know…

– flat driveway for Father of the Bride late night basketball games

– large backyard for soccer, football, wiffle ball…and for our dog to run around plenty.

– somewhere outside, front or back, that looks like a great sweet-tea sipping spot

– enough room for a family of 5-6 folks and students that come over in troves at all hours of the day.

And that’s about it.  Nothing huge.  Nothing fancy.  Just about right.

Well, on this day, on this route, I found it.  I jogged right by our dream house.  And I fell for it.  Hard.  So much so that I spent the rest of the run figuring out how in the world my family could be in that house one day.  And that led me away from ministry.  Quickly.  For two reasons:

1 / The money I make on a full-time youth ministry salary would never be enough to get me in that house.

2 / The imagination I have for God to bless and provide and wow and take care of us beyond our wildest dreams would never be enough to get me in that house.

So I thought of all the other things I’m gifted and talented in.  Professions that pay well.  Really well.  And I found my mind drifting.  I found myself wandering.  I was looking to find myself at a new desk somewhere.  Picking up a sweet paycheck.  Saving up for a down payment on a house.  I was searching in my mind for all these things…

Instead, I found something else.

Acedia.  And I was face to face with the little monster.

– –

So here I am.  A few weeks later.  Still sitting at my old desk.  Wondering about wandering.  And marinating in this question:  am I person number one or person number two?  Do I have no regrets or do I wish I could change things? Am I content with the way my life has played out or am I yearning for a do-over?  Do I want to keep moving forward or push to fall backward?

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove writes in the Stability book I mentioned yesterday something incredibly profound and powerful.  Especially if it’s true.

Maybe the single most important thing we can do if we want to grow spiritually is to stay in the place where we are.

Man, that sentence nailed me.  Instead of letting my mind run while I’m running, I’m going to really give that last sentence a try.  Let it soak into my life.  Dig roots filled with stability.  Fight off acedia.  Pro-actively.  Even when it’s just a little seed.  Especially when it’s just a little seed.

And who knows, maybe years from now, I’ll be writing to you from this same old desk.  But in a brand new house.  Exhausted from a long night of driveway basketball with my kids.  Sipping on sweet tea.  Filled with gratitude.  Maybe as much as I have right now.

Because even now, especially now, I’m incredibly grateful for this desk.  For my house.  For my son.  For even just teaching him the word “ball”…much less playing ball yet.  And most of all, for my wife’s sweet tea.

Acedia. Me. And You.

bobby posting:

The way I see it, there are two different types of people in this world.

How many times have you heard that?  And it’s always two different, different types of people.  Are the people who are half-full the same as the people who prefer their Pop-Tarts un-toasted?  What about the people who never text and drive and the people who really don’t care for dessert?  Same folks?  Makes my head spin.

That being said, I have another set of two different types of people in the world:

1 / People who have no regrets.  Who are content with the way their life has played out.  Who learned from their struggles and hardships and are all the better for it.  Who keep moving forward.

2 / People who desperately want to change things.  Who want to hit the reset button.  Who have played it all out and are crying for a “do-over”.   Who hated learning the hard way and yearn for a new innocence.  Who long to go backward.

– –

I’m several pages into a new book, The Wisdom of Stability, and it has me thinking about returning to my roots.  I left Arkansas in 2002, primarily for college.  But the secondary reason, to see the world, was not too secondary.  I knew since I was a little kid that I wanted to experience life away from home.  When it came time, I didn’t even apply to a single in-state school.  Nothing within even 5 hours of home.  I was ready to go.

But in 2008, after years away, home came calling once again.  And home I came.  And home is certainly where my heart is.  Even if I find my heart wandering every now and then.

– –

In my book today, I came across a word I didn’t know.  Acedia.  Uh-SEE-dee-uh.  I love words.  Especially new ones.  And when I find one I’m not familiar with, I search for the meaning.  And for meaning beyond meaning.  I found some great writing by none other than Kathleen Norris (I strongly recommend it) that really made the word come alive to me.  Like an arrow piercing somewhere deeper within.  I had just shared this thought and idea of restlessness the day before with Taido.  But this word, acedia, not only clarified my current state, it magnified it.  This was no easy demon to dismiss.  Norris writes:

The early Christian monks regarded acedia as one of the worst of the eight “bad thoughts” that afflicted them. It was ranked with pride and anger, as all three have the potential to lead people into deep despair. Acedia in particular could shake the very foundations of monastic life: once a monk succumbed to the notion that his efforts at daily prayer and contemplation were futile, life loomed like a prison sentence, day after day of nothingness. In a similar way, acedia can make a once-treasured marriage or vocation seem oppressive and meaningless.

Nothing in my life seems oppressive and meaningless.  And I mean that.  But I can certainly see how seeds could be planted.  Quickly and deeply.  I’ll share those thoughts with you tomorrow.  How walking down one path for a while can cause you to look over your shoulder.  To wonder if you took the wrong turn.  To forget to even look at the road you’ve chosen.  In all of its goodness.  In all of its possibility.

Maybe you’ve been there before.  Maybe seeds are being planted in you right now.  Maybe you’re further down than I can imagine.  Either way, I’m hoping a little digging will uproot any growth that’s already found soil.

Three Things No One Tells You About Parenthood

bobby posting:

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was just a happy husband with a pretty, pregnant wife.  The months were zipping by and the clock to parenthood was ticking like a time-bomb.  I was both desperate for help and sick and tired of the help I was getting.   I even wrote a post here on Via about wanting real advice from real Dad’s…and I wrote a post over at the Harrisonian about just being ready for everything to finally happen already.  Man, how time changes.

Truth be told, I’m a ridiculously happy and grateful father and husband.  I have an incredible child and a remarkable wife who has over the past year or more has transformed seamlessly and effortless into an unbelievable mother.  All that being said, there’s still a few things I’m a little miffed about.  Like these three things that no one told me about.  I guess some things you just have to learn on your own, though.  Maybe that’s just me.  I’ve been told before that my head is rather hard.  And big.  But that’s a whole other post…

– –

Three Things No One Tells You About Parenthood

1 / Tongue Twisters

I’m good with words.  Have been as long as I can remember.  But I’m even better at talking.  My parents could tell you that.  I remember my step-father asking me at a young age if I just liked to hear myself talk.  I think I spent about five minutes responding to him just to hear myself talk.  I thought it was funny.  Not sure he received it as well.

But somewhere along the line of being a Dad myself and trying to teach my son words here and there, I’ve found a real inability to finish sentences completely.  Whether it’s at home with the boy or around my friends, my brain shuts off.

Let me make it concrete for you.  I’m approaching my friend, Jacob, the other day.  As I’m about to say hi, I can’t decide whether or not to say “bro” or “bud”.  So what comes out?  “What’s up brud?”  Brud?  Are you kidding me?  Let’s just say spellcheck here on the blog isn’t too thrilled with my word choice there.  A little red line’s telling me I made a mistake.  Those little red lines are showing up more and more.  And I can’t do anything about it.  My brain’s freezing.

That’s not the first example.  It won’t be the last.  Can I blame it on the boy?  Of course.  Come on…I was great before.   You know it’s true.  If you disagree, call me.  We’ll talk.  Or I’ll talk.  You’ll enjoy listening.  I promise.

2 / Crazy People

When your child’s sleeping peacefully in the backseat of the car and you just have to run inside the video store real quickly to drop off your movie, I’m talking a 1-minute drop off here, you realize the line that separates you from the crazy parents that end up on the evening news is really much smaller than you are comfortable with.  I’m talking paper-thin.  Razor-thin.  Beyond tempting.  More so than I ever want to admit.  Wake up a sleeping baby?  Forget it.  We’ll just return the movie another time.  Even if it leads to a late fee.

The same goes for yard work outside while the boy’s napping inside.  Can I just leave a window cracked to hear him if he wakes up?  See…look at me.  Asking questions that may get me on the evening news.  I’m telling you, it’s tempting.

3 / Wet Diapers

Okay, I was fully aware and prepared for dirty diapers.  I had built up the horrid stench so much in my head that the first bad diaper I faced was far better than anything my nightmares could have produced.  Reality struck, and it didn’t stink nearly as bad as I thought.  In fact, give me a dirty diaper any day of the week.  Really.

But a wet diaper?  Wait.  Let me clarify.  Not just any wet diaper.  Not just a drop here or there.  I’m talking a slept-great-all-the-way-thru-the-night-diaper that’s carrying about four pounds of urine in it.  Soggy bottoms.  A diaper so wet and heavy that just looking at it causes the gag reflex.  Now you want me to hold this thing?  As it flops in your hands and squishes and slides, you realize that this is rock bottom.  Dignity out the window.  Not that there was much left as it is.  I’m telling you, the wet ones…the really, really, really wet ones…are way worse than anything else.  And no one tells you that.  Just soaked.  Just wrong.

– –

Well there you go.  That’s my list.  So far…

Any parents out there wanna add to it?  I’m all ears.  Would love for you to step up and tell me I have no idea what’s to come.  Because I want to know.  I don’t want to find out.  The hard way.  Again!

Bobby and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day / Part Three

bobby posting:

Ryan Bingham – “The Weary Kind”

And we pick it up, one last time.  It’s around 3pm, Saturday, March 12, 2011

– We’re tired.  Worn down.  Ready for rest.  We head up to the restaurant for lunch before we hit the road.  I’ve always wanted to make my own meal in a restaurant kitchen.  I get the green light from Mom and go to work on Bob’s World Famous BLT.  It’s a pretty perfect creation.  Toasted bread.  Lettuce.  Tomato.  Bacon.  Parmesan cheese.  Homemade Caesar dressing.  It’s a joy working in that environment.  Somewhere, not too far down in my soul, this is a dream of mine.  I grew up cooking right alongside my Mom.  Learning her tricks (add more butter).  The simple task of making this perfect sandwich is somewhat cathartic.  That and the homemade potato chips.  The whole process felt like Adam Sandler’s character late at night in Spanglish.  If you don’t know the scene I’m talking about, listen to my advice…again…and see that movie.  Lunch hit the spot.  In every possible way.

– We say our goodbyes, load up in the Subaru, and get ready to head on back to North Little Rock.  Ames is driving.  Abe’s in the back.  About 20 minutes down the road, he begins to get fussy.  Part of me begins to clench up.  Another part of me reaches to the CD player, turns on a beautiful song I’ve been drawn to recently, and witnesses my baby boy ease into peace like Florida’s waves at night.  I drift off to sleep.  All is well.  All is well.

– I wake up with an hour to go in the trip.  I look back and see Abe still napping.  He looks like a gift.  I take a picture.  I hold on to this moment as long as I can.

– Shortly thereafter, Abe wakes up and is ready to be home.  He communicates this clearly.  Effectively.  Maybe he should be a politician one day.  Or just cut the crap and be a dictator.  He knows how to let you know what he wants.  With authority.  And he’s relentless.  “Passionate”, Amy says.  “Feisty”, she adds.  “Menacing”, I mutter.

– Abe won’t give up.  Amy’s driving and trying to entertain Abe at the same time.  This might be a safety hazard.  Abe drops a toy.  Amy reaches back into the floorboard to pick it up for him.  As a consequence, tiff number twelve happens.  Just drive, I “politely” tell her.  Believe it or not, that last sentence may have been the first use of fiction in these blog posts.  I think I said something else.  I’ve since blocked it out.

I decide my energy will best be spent, for everyone’s sake, in the back with Abe.  I climb back, committed to entertain this boy like a circus clown.  We will be happy.  We will be happy.

– Abe laughs without abandon.  Over and over.  Wholeheartedly.  Fully.  Joyfully.  I read to him.  Sing with him.  Laugh back at him.  I’m wearing myself out and this magician is just about out of tricks, but there’s no greater reward than keeping a smile on your child’s face.  Cliche?  Sure.  But true?  Never written anything truer.

– As we pull closer and closer to home, with the sun beginning to set and the day drawing to an end, I reflect on the events that have unfolded.  I’d written down all the hard stuff earlier.  Now it was time to write the good.  Like making a good sandwich, I needed this experience.  My wife has been doing a great exercise all throughout 2011.  She regularly keeps a list of things she’s grateful for.  What a beautiful thing to do.  Inspiring.  So much so that I had to create mine.  In the midst of a royally crappy day, I decided to take off the blinders and see what I’d missed.  While sitting next to my boy, with a scribbling pen and fading daylight, here’s what I wrote:

* One of the greatest rear-window-sunsets of all-time.  Brilliant.  Beautiful

* Handing Honey Nut Cheerios one at time to Abe for a car ride snack.  Seeing his hand reach into mine and clasp.  Thinking of all the bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios I ate next to my dad growing up.  My spoon racing to keep up with him.

* Seeing a colt dashing thru a field.  Running full steam with those little locomotive legs to a larger horse.  To Dad?  That’s what I’m gonna believe.

*  The continual landscape portraits being painted outside my window.  Gorgeous countryside.  Cattle.  Trees.  Water.  Hills.  Sun.  Grass.  Eat your heart out Thomas Kinkade.

* Birds formed together like a black cloud, flying high in a massive group.  Splitting up.  Joining back together.  Smoothly.  Gracefully.

* “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?  I see a white dog looking at me, ” I read.  “Ruff ruff,” Abe responds.  Genius.

* Handing my boy his bottle.  Those strong arms tilting it up.  My hands running thru his soft hair.

* Breaking off a couple of cardboard pieces from two old hangers.  Letting Abe use them as drumsticks or magic wands.  Seeing him hold them out the window, enjoying the tension the wind provides.  Pulling them back in.  Repeat.  Release.  Cardboard swords sent back to the wild.

* “Free Falling” on the radio.  Cranking it up in the dark of the night.  Abe clapping along.  So the boy likes Tom Petty.  Score another one for Amy’s genes.

And that’s the list.  A couple more notes before the day ends…

– We pull into town, make our way home, unpack the car and put our boy down to bed.  I run to the score to grab us a pint of ice cream.  As I turn off my street, I see giant fireworks in the distance.  Blue and gold lighting up silently in the distance.  I drive quietly, looking up among the trees and streetlights to see these colors explode into the black.  And fade.  The blackboard erased.  Chalked up.  Cleaned off.  Just enough to make me look even higher up in the sky and say a quick, “Thank you.”

– At the store, I was looking for something else, but I come across a Ben and Jerry’s flavor named Dublin Mudslide.  It’s our 5 Year Anniversary trip to Ireland in the form of sugar, milk, and lots of chocolate.  Manna.  But much, much tastier.  God is good.

– I head home and we turn on a movie we’d rented earlier in the week.  127 Hours.  We sit and watch as this man fights for life.  To live.  Even days like this.  That days like today would be a welcome blessing.  That he’d probably be okay with a life full of days like today.  127 Hours made my 12 hours look like dust.  My heart is softened.  Awakened.  Filled.

– Amy and I head to bed.  I’d love to stop typing now, to let you know that tiff number 27 didn’t happen.  But somehow, flesh came forward once again.  And I have no idea what the fight was about now.  Fitting, right?  But I know that as I lied down to bed, knowing a time change was happening, that tomorrow was coming faster than today had the night before, that I was ready for morning’s mercies.

I was frustrated and tired.  Yet I felt God would win.  I believed the light of day would be a return to running in form.  I knew a change was gonna come.  If not in this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day…then surely in tomorrow.

– And Sunday was good.  Not just good.  Very good.  Sunrise to sunset.