Bonaventure Drive

randomlychad  —  September 4, 2014 — 2 Comments

I remember the pear tree. Hoisting me aloft on his shoulders, I picked the juiciest, sweetest pears you could ever want to eat. I picked them for my dad and me.

I was three.

That tree was at the end of Bonaventure Drive, by the mailboxes, where it terminated and the dense forest began. Those were happy times, summer times. When I was three, and the lane shimmered with the Pennsylvania summer heat. Though the skies were always grey that close to the lake, the world was golden. Because my daddy had me, held my hand as walked Bonaventure Drive, hands sticky with pear juice in the heat.
image

But three became four, and my brother was born. And the trips to the pear tree ceased.

Somewhere along the way–I didn’t know if it was me–my daddy didn’t have me anymore, didn’t hold my hand… We played ball in the side yard. He threw it harder, harder, faster, faster. I couldn’t catch it. I tried and tried, but it hit my tummy. Harder and harder, it hit my tummy.

I stood there. I stood there until I couldn’t hold back the tears. But still I stood there, the football smacking me.

My daddy was angry, and I didn’t know why.

Life was no longer the same on Bonaventure Drive.

A Post for Dads

randomlychad  —  September 2, 2014 — Leave a comment

image

This post is for dads (or dads to be). It’s okay if you moms, wives, sisters, daughters (cousin’s former roommates) read it, too. Because what I’m going to share (I know, I’m sounding like an informercial here) has the potential to change. Your. Life, too.

I didn’t come up with it. A guy named Greg Vaughn out of Lubbock, Texas did. In a nutshell: Mr. Vaughn was one day cleaning out his garage, and came upon an old, worn out, rusty tackle box that had been his dad’s.

It was literally all he had from his father. There were no no notes, no letters, nothing to remind him of his dad’s love. Mr. Vaughn got angry. He was upset that all he had was this worthless tackle box. It was then that he heard God speak in his heart: “What do your kids have, Greg?”

Convicted by this, Greg Vaughn got together with a group of friends, and like the old shampoo commercial, they told two friends, etc.

Thus Letters From Dad was born. In the last 10 (or so) years it has gone quietly viral. What it is is a series of meetings (five in total), where men gather to learn the the lost art of letter writing. These letters are tokens of faith, hope, and love poured out upon the page for our families. It’s about not just writing well, but living well–backing up those words. Let’s face it: words are powerful. Why not use them to powerfully speak into the lives of those we love the most?

The program starts with us guys writing a letter to our wives (we wouldn’t be dads without them), proceeding through our children–eldest to youngest–and then our parents. Writing all this down gives us guys an opportunity to say the things we often mean, but forget, to say. We get to express our love, our gratitude, our hopes and dreams for our kids.

We get to leave a written record of what was most important to us. One that will live on after we are gone.

Again, I know this sounds like an informercial, or something, but I believe in it (Letters From Dad) so much that I wanted to let you, my faithful readers, know.

Look up Letters From Dad on the Internet. Ask your church to host it. Get your friends and neighbors together. It will really change your lives, men. And more importantly, it will change the lives of those that mean the most to you:

Your families.

(Ladies, if you read this far, I would encourage you to order the materials for the man in your life. You’ll be glad you did).

I stand–mouth agape, arms akimbo–in awe of people who manage to maintain large coteries of friends, social media connections, socialize with coworkers, etc.

Because that’s not me. When first I began blogging, I was there: commenting, sharing, interacting. Then I hit a wall. I burnt out. I couldn’t keep up with everything and everyone. It got overwhelming.

Funny thing is, when I pulled up virtual stakes, my Internet presence began to go along with it. This blog may as well be drying on the vine as much as it’s read these days. I can’t say I ever had halcyon days, but the old grey mare sure ain’t what she used to be. I wanted to use it as a springboard to launch a platform, but what influence do I have?

That’s as may be. I don’t know what to do about it. I only that I’m not above the pangs of jealousy whenever I hear that coworkers have gotten together over the weekend, that so-and-so has another book coming out, that this other guy is getting all these hits (and comments).

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m defective, off putting, something. I have a family that loves me, but I sure don’t have a lot of friends. And the Internet friends I once had have gone their own ways. Some days I just feel so alone. It feels like childhood all over again: being ignored, left to my own devices.

I mostly get by. I have a God Who loves me, a wife and kids who adore me. But anytime I’ve gotten close to a group of friends something has happened. I don’t know if it’s me, them, or just this rotten world.

In any case, I’m not unhappy. I love Jesus, my wife, kids, family. But it would be nice to be known, to be appreciated, to be able to share life with brothers of like minded faith sometimes.

I know we’re all busy. And I hope I’m not just writing on my own behalf. I’m sure there are others of you out there feeling the same.

I’m here. I’m still here.

Email Me

It almost goes without saying that to affirm–to embrace–one thing is to implicitly deny another. There are only so many hours in one day, and we are but human; thus, we can’t do everything.

What we do get to do is choose. This, or that. If we choose this, chances are we can’t also do that (maybe we can, but usually not well). The funny thing is that we always seem to manage to find the time to do the things we love. Whether that’s writing, sculpting, painting, exercising, reading, praying…

The list is endless.

But because we love that thing, we are disciplined, and choose this instead of that.

We decide what our priorities are, and invest accordingly.

For myself, I’m in a season where getting up, and going to the gym, is important to me. It means that I don’t have time for morning writing for instance. However, I think that my fitness journey may indeed one day provide ample blog fodder.

The equation may be different for you, and that’s okay. What’s important is to:

Choose

Commit

Stay focused

Be disciplined

And show up

The rest is up to you.

Choose you this day.

I sometimes (often) marvel at God’s timing. If you, like me, are a theist (and indeed a Christian), then you likely believe that God is sovereign (in charge). Yet somehow, within the context of that sovereignty, he created us–creatures with free will. So today, of my own volition, I ventured out to CVS pharmacy to pick up some heating pads for a stiff neck. Well and good. On the way back, I was treated to sudden wet slap falling upon my right shoulder. This moist blat managed to splash on my right earlobe. For the briefest of moments, I thought it rain. It was not. It was the digestive leavings of an avian exiting its cloaca.

To be precise, it was pigeon poo (yuck!).

How did my little jaunt to CVS, and back, place me (so to speak) at the scene of the “crime” at that precise instant?

This avian accident necessitated a detour into Starbucks, where I cleaned off the alimentary outburst to the best of my ability. Leaving there, I proceeded back to work.

Which put me at the intersection near my office just in time for:

An older lady, decked out in a red jumpsuit, cane in hand, yelling at the top of her lungs, “You don’t get no p*ssy for letting me cross the street. You hear me? You don’t get no p*ssy for letting me cross. Maybe if I’s a younger skank, but you ain’t getting any.” This tirade seemed to be directed at no one other than the ether.

Here, again, it’s all about timing: if I hadn’t been so rudely detained by a roosting winged rat, I would have missed out on this colorful outburst.

What does it mean? What, if anything, is God trying to tell me?

As I said above, I believe He is sovereign–the superordinating power which runs the universe. That said, and in the words of C.S. Lewis, “free will almost requires a kind of divine self-abdication.” In other words, if lesson there is to be had here, it’s that:

1) God is good; and

2) Sh*t happens

Sometimes it flows from a cloaca; others, from the human mouth.