stories of a failed holy man


Deep Breaths…
February 26, 2013, 5:20 am
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Every night, before I can sleep peacefully, I have to make sure my kids are still breathing. It isn’t enough to just see them wrapped in their matching princess comforters.

Whatever, jerk, I’m still hardcore. I’ll punch Cinderella in the face.

I need to walk up, put my hand on their back, and feel their deep, peaceful breaths, inevitably followed with the annoyed roll over that comes from their stupid idiot dad disturbing their slumber. I like to believe that they know I’m there, and it helps them sleep easier, even if it annoys them in the present.

Deep breaths. All is at peace. Knowing my kids are safe, dreaming of pudding pops and unicorns. Whatever it is kids dream of, it gives me peace to feel their breath, steady; resting. It doesn’t matter how tough my day has been with both of them. Bella cries and thinks I’m a monster for rushing her to put her shoes on when we’re 10 minutes late already. Makena lipping (not flipping, although im sure thats coming someday) me off for not playing Nintendo 24 hours a day, like a good dad would. It doesn’t matter what they feel towards me or the world around them in that moment. The fact that they are safe, sound, in my care and I can feel their breath. It brings me peace. Most of the time.

I am having a night where the peace isn’t quite so forthcoming. Anger. Frustration . Exasperation might be a better descriptor. Exhaustion. Defeat. Weariness, not of the kind an 8 hour sleep will cure. These nights come once in a blue moon, whatever a blue moon is. Must be rare or something. One of the few things that calms me is knowing my kids are happy, safe and sound. It helps when I remember Gods love for me.

Rarely do I let it sink in enough to give me peace. I live most days running from one thing to the next, unaware of Gods hand on my chest, trying to calm my gasping breath. In my exasperation, anger, resentment, bitterness, he holds me close and says “rest.”

The truth is Gods touch isn’t always so in tune with my life. Rather, I’m not so in tune with his touch. But during nights like tonight, all I can pray for is rest and that tomorrow will bring hope. It nearly always does.

If God loves me the way I love my kids when they reject me, hurt me, run to me for comfort, depend on me for survival; if God really does love me like that, then peace should be the most natural of feelings. My kids believe in my love for them.

My prayer tonight is that I feel Gods immense, Immeasurable, insatiable love for me in the smallest of doses. To feel Gods hand on my back so I know he’s there and can sleep peacefully. I know that’s a small prayer, but a small dose of Gods love is an ocean of my own. I believe it in my head. the idea must make its way to my heart.

Deep breaths. Now go, enter the rest.



toddler theft
April 8, 2009, 4:12 am
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i got home from the gym and just wanted to soak in the bathtub. my legs were burning and i was sweating out of my eyeballs. i started running the bath and went to the kitchen to get some water, and realized i had made mistake number 1 of having a bath when you have kids. ‘if you want peace, wait until they are in bed.’ i think that rule is followed by ‘lock the door behind you.’ when i got back to the bathroom, makena grace was already splashing water all over and bella gracie wasn’t far behind. i guess my bath would have to wait. i couldn’t help but sit there and laugh as they both looked up with their beautiful eyes as if to say, ‘screw you, dad. don’t you know your life revolves around me?’

my girls are the most beautiful in the history of the world. i’m sorry, but it’s a fact that is not debatable. i am smitten and will always be wrapped around their little fingers. every day there is something new that makes me smile. every day they are more beautiful than the last. and every day, they teach me something beautiful.

makena is the craziest of the crazy. she runs at full speed every moment she is awake. she stops for nothing, except for a hug when she wants a popsicle. the amount of miles she puts on in a day makes her faster than any marathon runner in my books, or at least she has more endurance. she loves life so much. and most toddlers do, so maybe that’s nothing out of the ordinary. but if you’ve ever met makena, you know there is nothing ordinary about her. her smile, her mischievous eyes, her wild spirit, and at the same time this beautiful gentleness that is unseen in most people these days, let alone children. she will be a handful as she grows up (she already is, i’m getting what i deserve), but she is her own person, and i can see at the age of 3 that she will rock this world with whatever she does. she will make her mark on many more lives than my own. i am so proud of her.

at church the other week, i was in the cradle roll room because she couldn’t sit still in church. most parents get embarrassed when their kids are rowdy in church. it took 2 years to get her to sit through the first 45 minutes without screaming every time we walked into the auditorium. so if she wants to talk through service, i’ll try and get her to be quiet, but i’m just glad she is sitting still. i’m the youth minister and i can’t control my own kid. what are they going to do, fire me? oh wait…i guess they can.

but on this day, she couldn’t sit anymore, and i believe it happened so i could share a beautiful moment with my girl. the passer brought communion back, as they always do to make sure everyone gets communion. as i reached for the bread, makena asked for some. my first instinct was, ‘no way. you are just a kid, you don’t understand.’ i remember being a young boy in church and one of the older boys had been baptized, so he had the honor of taking communion. he used to rub it in our faces and brag that he got a snack in the middle of church. he used to rub his tummy and say ‘yum, yum’ being totally over dramatic about it. so i’ve always had it in the back of my mind that kids shouldn’t have communion. mostly so they weren’t jerks like jonathan was. but on her persistence, and my not wanting to have a fight on my hands, i grabbed a bigger piece of bread and knelt down to be on her level. i planned to simply give it to her as a snack. maybe that’s blasphemous. i don’t know. but jesus ate grain in the fields on the sabbath, so i’m sure i could twist that to make it okay to give communion to my child as a snack. before i gave it to her, i asked if she knew what it was. she said ‘cracker’, looking at me like i was a moron. of course it’s a cracker, dad. i said, ‘jesus saved us, and so we want to remember him’. she slowed down a little bit, which is not normal for her. i asked if we could pray. she doesn’t usually like prayer. another knock against me, i suppose, as i should be the super pastor with the 3 year old mother theresa. but she slowed what she was doing and looked at me, waiting. in silence. which makena doesn’t do. she may have just been waiting for the cracker, the mazzo bread that tastes kind of stale, just a snack. but it felt like more. it felt like something important. and in that moment, i saw him. God was standing in front of me looking through the eyes of my baby girl. i don’t see God very often. even when he’s right in front of me, i have trouble picking him out. but i saw him in that moment. i couldn’t miss him. when our eyes met, i believe that God was very much in her and trying to speak to me. and so i prayed. and she repeated after me. a simple prayer.

‘thank you, Jesus, for saving us. we love you so much.’

and i shared communion with my daughter and with God. i know church tradition, or at least mine, has this unwritten rule that one should be baptized before partaking of communion. heck, even the catholics don’t take communion that young. i felt like i was doing something forbidden. but i don’t think God lives in our unwritten rules, or even the written ones most of the time. God lives with us and in us. he lives in my daughter. i met him there.