Monday, August 4, 2014

3 Omelets

3 Omelets
That is my job.  Make the omelets.  They say I’m the best at it.  
I think its just their way of making me feel needed and important.  
After all, its just beaten eggs, cheese, and heat.
But that is my assignment…make the omelets.

Because this is kind of a big day.  First day of school.  The launch of our “best year yet”.  
The promise of new adventures, and friends, and drama, and heartbreak, and laughs, and tears, and ups, and downs, and everything in between.

It is also the official start of the “next year” watch.
Next year, I’ll be in junior high.
Next year, I’ll be in high school.
Next year, I’ll be a senior.

I can hold off on all the “next year” talk.  For now.  Forever.

The youngest is the first one down the stairs, even though she knows she will be the last to leave.  She is ready.  She is smiling.  She is beautiful.  
She is oblivious to how hard life can be sometimes.  
I hope to keep her that way as long as possible.

The middle one comes down next.  Ever notice how sometimes the middle one can kinda just blend in and pass through?  Not this morning.  This morning the goofy, soft-hearted, tomboy came down the stairs a stunningly beautiful young woman.
Now, don’t get me wrong, she’s always been beautiful.  But all of the sudden she’s the kind of beautiful that makes dads worry, hate every boy whose name gets mentioned, and contemplate how they would fair in prison should the need present itself.

Last, but not least, the oldest appears.  She walks in confidence and beauty.  She laughs with her sisters.  They bicker over clothes.  She is ready for this day because she is beginning to gain focus on the days ahead.  She is ok.  She is amazing. 

This is a big day for Thing #1.  She’s driving herself to school.  And that mere fact actually kept her from bickering about taking Thing #2 to school.  
And there was no linger.  As soon as they were down the stairs they were out the door.  Driving off.  Forgetting to give dad a kiss.

“I only have one more of these days left”, she says.  Wow…  
Breakfast just got real.  These moments are finite.  And precious.
My first thought is how I wish I could slow all this down.  To find a way to continue to be needed to make the omelets.  To keep them young.  Safe.  Home. 

Because very soon…
I’ll just need to make two omelets.
Then one…

Then their mom and I will start enjoying all that time we have together to reconnect that we talk about know.  Just the two of us.  Hopefully living somewhere consistently warm, where we’ll take our early morning walks down to the local coffee shop.  And every day we’ll order the same thing.  Read the paper…

and count the days until our babies bring their babies to visit us.
And I’ll make omelets…or Grandma will make chocolate chip pancakes.

But as fast as we seem to be hurtling towards that day, today is not that day.
Today I made omelets.
3 omelets

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How To Help Your Kids Write Your Funeral

I’ve lost count of how many funerals I’ve officiated over the years.  But of all the funerals I’ve been blessed to be a part of one stands out to this very day.

It haunts me.
It resonates.

I was asked to do a graveside service in early winter.  The kind of day that is bathed in grey and the type of cold that just sinks into your bones.
I had no connection with the family.  I was simply the “pastor of availability”.
Conflicting schedules made meeting with family prior to the service impossible.
I was flying blind…

Approaching the gravesite, the daughter of the deceased grabbed my arm.
“Don’t preach him into heaven.  He’s not there.”

The hurt was overwhelming.

How does a father allow this to happen?
How can we make sure it doesn’t happen to us?

Start by helping your kids write your funeral service right now.
Begin today on being purposeful with what you leave.

Leave Resolution

Just recently, I was a part of two funeral services that could best be described as dysfunctional.  Conflict between siblings made everyone uncomfortable.  
Kind of like dancing on a powder keg with your shorts on fire…

Start now by teaching your children how to handle conflict effectively.
Demonstrate forgiveness – both the giving and receiving of.
Show extravagant grace.
Help the healing.

And when all else fails…
Step in the middle and put a stop to it.
You’re the dad, for goodness sake.
Dad up.

And then go back to the first three things mentioned and start the process all over again.

Leave Laughter

Create moments of joy that kick sorrow in the teeth.
Every belly laugh…
Every “roll on the floor” wrestling match…
Every “oh, Dad” roll their eyes at you moment…
…Will come back and wrap comfort around them like their favorite blanket when you’re gone.
Trust me.

Leave A Legacy Worth Leaving

Notice I didn’t say inheritance.  Inheritance brings to mind money.
I’m talking about something even more valuable.
I’m talking legacy.
“My dad loved my mom.”
“My dad was kind.”
“My dad was an honest man.”
“My dad was always willing to help others.”
“My dad was loving and kind.”

At the end of our story we will have left our children moments that shape their “my dad was…” statements.

What will the moments you live now say about you then?

Leave Hope

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (ESV)
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

The single greatest thing that you can do as a father is to make real Jesus Christ to your children.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…”
There is no greater hope than this.

Leave Directions

In John 14, Jesus comforts His disciples with the promise of a home beyond this physical life.  Jesus assures them by reminding them of the work that He has already been doing in their lives.

“And you know the way to where I am going.” – John 14:4 (ESV)

Jesus could say this because he had invested in them, walked beside them, taught them.

Jesus led.

And I know…
At the end of the day the choice to follow Jesus isn’t in your control.
But them knowing the way is.

Dads lead.

How do we do this?
Follow Jesus first.
Don’t worry about showing your kids Christ.
Allow them to see Christ in you.

Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to celebrate the life of a beautiful lady.  I was able to sit with her and plan her funeral.  It was an amazing experience.

My friend left her daughters with so much…
But 3 things stuck out to me.
Life isn’t always fair.
God is always faithful and good.
And there is always a reason to dance.

Amidst tears and laughter, we said our goodbyes for now.
And while my friend’s favorite song played, her daughter took the hand of her grandfather and they danced.

And soon the whole room was dancing and swaying to the rhythm of a beautiful life.

Now that’s how you write a funeral…

Go make the moments that will write yours.