Sometimes you read something that hits your Truth button like a savage blow to the solar plexus. This is one of those things. (Thank you to my wife for sharing it on her timeline. 😉 )
I think every philosophy class, ideally, should have a couple of young children in it. They prove the logic and the categories are really there and make it so much more simple. I really appreciate the observations John Pseudonymous makes about his twins’ ‘awakenings.’
My son had a nightmare. He woke up calling and repeatedly crying out for, “Light!–Light!–Light!”
His music box tied to his crib has a little night light on a timer. He quickly must have climbed up to turn it on. Between his sobbing and asking for Light and Mama, I had wondered if maybe he felt some real kind of pain. But it seemed that he had only been dreaming after all. The irony is that we were, at that moment, watching Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 2; that while we were watching a movie about Dark, Dark, he was crying for Light, Light.
Yet another reminder to me that our feelings and sensibilities work even without our awareness. Some things bother us for reasons, even if our cultured mind tells us that we should pay them no mind. Put in sexy young actors, a trendy soundtrack, take out the blood, and suddenly you can forget about the wanton violence and cursed, demon-spawn that originally was the world of vampires.
I’m not saying that everything with an element of fear or evil should be strictly off-limits to children. I only advocate moderation and intentionality. (Don’t get me started on my Alice & Wonderland rant. I’ll save that for another post.) But my son reminds me, in his own way, that nearly everything that is going on matters. That there really is a Battle going on all the time and ground is either being gained or surrendered.
So you want a recipe for disaster? You want to sabotage your relationship with your number one? Sure, everyone believes they are going to succeed and be happy at the outset. Nobody really marries expecting to fail. But some of us get to a point where our pride just becomes far too important and suddenly seems to be a better lover. Here is a list of critical steps to unravel what is supposed to be the most important relationship in your life:
DON’T push yourself to make your spouse proud of you.
DO expect them to accept whatever issues from you no matter how bad it is.
DON’T seek out new things to put smiles on his or her face.
DO continually plan to do the same old same old. Your spouse should be no better than your old college roommates who never liked change, wanted to be left alone, and to be as messy and play as many video games as he wanted.
DON’T apologize sincerely or let your spouse vent.
DO plan exactly how to retaliate, get defensive about things beside the main point, and use sarcasm whenever possible.
DON’T let your spouse challenge your family. When they go up against your mom, they will lose every time.
DO compare your dysfunctional family systems to each other all the time, and let your family justify and coddle you and your problems while villainizing your spouse.
DON’T put your spouse’s well being ahead of your children.
DO use your children as weapons, collateral, allies, and bargaining pieces.
DON’T take them out on dates, adventures, and open-ended excursions where you don’t care about getting home at a certain time.
DO come home and take off the shoes and belt and let the family know you need “me time.”
DON’T worry about proving love anymore or doing what’s right because it’s right.
DO get defensive and tell him or her their love is “conditional” if they are going to hold you to the truth or to your own words.
DO apologize and move on. Shrug if necessary.
(*Even though I’m being facetiously ironic here, I have personal experience with these. I’m sure the list will be added to. May it be a warning sign. We don’t have to relive the mistakes of others.)
I realized today that I have long been nominated and enabled to be the family scarecrow.
Scarecrows have one job—one state of being—and that is to intimidate. They are to scare away the intruders who come to steal the crops. Unfortunately, they make us all sad for probably the same reason: once their bluff is called, they cannot fight. They cannot come down and take action. They become a joke when even the birds realize it’s just another perch.
I have stood long behind my family, silently, trying to ward off evil forces, but only as a façade.
I intend to keep getting down…
I just watched Courageous. Very inspirational. Makes me want to be a better man.
I will! I will be the father to my children and the husband to my wife. I will remember that whatever I am suffering or agonizing or getting tired of at the moment is only in this moment, and I cannot tell the future or how it will all fit together in the end. I will strive for excellence and hope, without fear of embarrassment or having to apologize. I will fight for what is right because it is right and because God loves what is right; I want my children to love the same.
Watching my son take in everything new is amazing. Everything is original and authentic to him. What attitudes and feelings am I exposing him to? What about the things that I don’t realize I’m teaching him? Things I probably don’t want him to learn.
My thinking needs to shift from “be careful—don’t screw up” to “teach something right—love as much as I can.” If I focus on what I do wrong, I’m lost. I need to teach him the things now that will make him a good man, an observant learner, and a wise human being.
There are two parts to my post about this Fathers’ Day. They are hardly related by anything other than fatherhood, but they are both catalytic for positive change.
Although I do wish every dad a happy Padres’ Day today, in lieu of gifts I genuinely want to receive (and give) prayers for dads. I think most of us are aware of the consequences of fatherless households, and the burdens that too many mothers bear alone, but we don’t grasp the magnitude.
Fathers: please step up and claim the love we have for you. Like building a wall in a strange and dangerous land, keep building with one hand and holding a weapon in the other to protect your families. I’m not talking about physical weapons (per se, of course), but mental and emotional ones. Love your wife and kids with reckless abandon, and defend your hope for them and in them until the end.
If you haven’t seen the movie Smoke Signals, I highly recommend it. This poem comes from that film. It is dour but purposely driven towards healing.
How Do We Forgive Our Fathers?
by Dick Lourie
How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.
Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?
Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?
If we forgive our Fathers what is left?