Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gone Boxing

In the clearing stands a boxer 
And a fighter by his trade 
And he carries the reminders 
ev'ry glove that layed him down 
Or cut him till he cried out 
In his anger and his shame 
"I am leaving, I am leaving" 
But the fighter still remains 

-Paul Simon-
I'm sitting in room 322 at UT hospital watching my wife feed my son -my son.  He's an awesome little guy.  I hear  people all the time talk about how seeing or holding their kids for the first time instantly changes them.  I'm sure it doesn't work that way for me.  Change I want to happen takes effort, its change I don't want that comes quickly and out of nowhere.  Sometimes the change I want is better than the change I don't, but sometimes the least expected and most terrifying change is the best thing that could ever happen.  

I'm gonna say this now, this one time, and then deny it until I die.  I did not want to have another kid right now.  I didn't feel ready. I felt out of control, and accidentally getting pregnant did not help the situation.  I'm in a bad but improving career situation and we knew we would have to move soon.  It felt irresponsible bringing another kid into that situation.  I had a very hard time getting excited about having this baby.  We didn't even get the nursery finished.  It didn't seem fair to him or the rest of us.  Sitting here now I'm confronted with the stupidity, ignorance, and short-sided selfishness of those feelings.  

My son's name is Carter.  He has the same initials as my dad and I.  We didn't name him until 24 hours after he was born.  Nothing seemed right.  The initials thing became very important to me.  I like having him linked to my dad that way.  He'll never know my dad, and I'm not sure I have enough of the good that was in him left in me for Carter to know him that way, so I think having something of his Granddad's may link them in a way I can't.  It feels like tying the loose ends together a little.  

Carter's arrival doesn't take away the pain of loosing my dad or make that ok in any way, but its a reminder that life moves on.  It's sometimes cruel and dark, but not always.  Life is good because its inventor it is good.  

I wrote everything up to this point on our third night in the hospital.  I didn't really know how to finish it then, still don't.  I don't have any idea what the Simon and Garfunkel song has to do with anything except that I couldn't get it out of my head that night.  I feel like I complain on here a lot - these last few years have been difficult.  I've given God a hard time and I've felt like I wasn't getting much better from him.  That's so stupid.  God has been good, really good.  He provides and protects. He loves and pursues.  My life screams of his mercy and grace.  

These last few years have been marked by loss and anger and isolation and confusion.  In the rare moments of clarity, moments like this one, I can see also see what I have been allowed to hold on to and what I have gained.  I have wonderful family (mom, sisters, brother in laws, a beautiful niece and two really cool nephews), I have the best friends anyone has ever had, my wife is amazing (for more on her read this and this),  my daughter is beautiful and funny and healthy, I have a son.  Yes, money is tight and our financial future uncertain, but I know what I want to do.  I know my calling - its not much, just a little dream.  Yea, life is good.

I am not.  About 10 years ago I quit basketball.  I was a freshman in college and I didn't like the way it was going, it required too much - got too hard.  I never should have quit, at least not like that.  I left mid-season, what kind of team mate was I.  That's shady.  I learned then that quitting is an option, that one decision created a habit.  I've been quitting every since.  Not very often in large noticeable ways, but in sneaky small ways in the most difficult moments I shut down - bow out.  I think that's what one of my current jobs is designed to break me of.  I hate it.  I like the people and appreciate that it pays bills and provides insurance, but I hate going there everyday knowing its not where my future lies, I want to quit everyday - so far I haven't.  I'm going to see it through to its end.  

I'm off topic.  Here's the thing:  I've been pushed to the limit by sin and doubt and anger and shame.  I'm not afraid anymore, its all been flushed.  I'm going  to take a stand.  My family deserves at least that.  I'm too weak now to advance much, but I'm going to hold my ground.  This is as far as I'm willing to slide.  Its not going to look like much. This post will probably be the most noticeable thing I do, but in sneaky ways in the  tough moments I'm going to hold my ground.    

I'm not sure what that will look like in me anymore, but I saw Jesus in my parents and I'm going to do all I can to ensure my kids see him in me.  

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