RSS

Tag Archives: love

Patience is a Virtue (that I wish I had)

Below is a post I began writing a couple months ago but until now didn’t get a chance to finish. Reading over the beginning I found that it is as true now (if now more so) as it was then, so I decided to finish it because I need to hear it and it needs to be said.

Attending a beautiful wedding this past Saturday, I was afforded a welcome retreat from the constant movement of taking three kids to Mass. I was actually able to listen to the readings, the psalm and the homily! Of course, it is in those times when we have a chance to listen that God comes in and speaks to our hearts and so it was this time.

The psalm chosen by the wedding couple was one I had heard a thousand times growing up: Psalm 103 “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness, the Lord is kind and merciful.” While I know this particular version of the psalm is not drawn directly from Psalm 103 as it is meant to be, it struck me how directly this related to my life and the life of the soon to be married couple on their wedding day!

It is something I’ve been reflecting on a great deal, really and hearing it in Church made it all the more prominent. We are the children of God and as children are wont to do, we make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are huge, sometimes they are minor. Sometimes we don’t live up to our potential and yet, how does our God repay us for those failures? With love! With compassion! With Mercy! With overflowing, total self-giving, sacrificial LOVE! 

And here I am, the father of three children, the husband of one amazing wife, and how does my response to my childrens’ mistakes and bad choices compare to God’s? I’ll tell you right now, that it’s not a pretty comparison. Of course, you might say, we can’t expect to be like God, he is perfect, and that is true, but I remember a line in scripture that says, “be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect.” A lofty goal to be certain, but one toward which we should all be striving. And so it is with fathers in a particular way because…well, we’re fathers. So, the image of God the father that my kids will first see is supposed to be me. If they don’t see me being slow to anger, rich in kindness, full of compassion, how can they be expected to understand that God, who is all knowing and all powerful, is also all merciful, all just and all loving.

I think I just realized my new year’s resolution.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Children, fatherhood, scripture, Virtue

 

Tags: , , , ,

“This” is What Life’s About

Just a few days ago, I was in the car on my way to work and a new (to me) song by Darius Rucker came on the radio. The title of this song was inocuous enough and, in fact, I completely didn’t know what to expect, so when the DJ said, “This” by Darius Rucker, I was intrigued. As I listened, I was blown away and brought back to so many conversations my wife and I have about the way we first met.

Then, it got me thinking about how great it is to share “our story” with so many people. Each time we tell it, we get to go back to all those little decisions we made that eventually brought us together and kept us together. We remember how we looked when we first met, what we did together when we were first dating and learning all the quirks about one another, how we felt when we had our first kiss, the letters we used to write to one another when we couldn’t be together that first summer, and the memories go on and on. But most of all we look back over all of it and see the way God was guiding us through it all. There were so many things that could have gone differently in our lives and so many other decisions we could have made that would have kept us from ever knowing one another. How different our lives would have been! And yet, for some reason, God saw it fit that we should meet, that we should make all those decisions because in the end, the greatest good we could each hope for has happened to us and continues to this day.

Now we are tasked with maintaining this gift, keeping it beautiful, keeping it alive and strong and I think, again, it comes down to decisions. There are times when we feel like the last place we want to be is in the presence of the one we love. There are times when we just want to be alone, with no spouse, no kids, no responsibility and it is in those moments when we have to make a decision to continue to love. I think that everyday, in fact, we must make the decision to love again and anew. Some days, it’s easy; somedays, not as much, but if we recognize that each time we choose to love our spouse, we are also choosing to love the God who brought us together by way of all those other crazy decisions in our lives, then we also have hope that God will continue to bless that love and help it to grow stronger.

Mr. Rucker has it right. There is a certain freedom when we can say, “Thank God for leading me to this.” (You can literally feel the freedom with which he sings the song.) In that statement we have hope and trust that in this moment we are exactly where God wants us to be and we have the opportunity to love, to learn, and to grow more closely to Him and to the ones in our lives with which he has blessed us.

Now, I have three parting favors to ask:

This by Darius Rucker

1. Listen to the song!

2. If you haven’t done it recently, think back to when you first met your spouse, think back to all the decisions you made that led you to meet, and tell someone.

3. Thank God for leading you here to “this!”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 29, 2011 in All In

 

Tags: , , , ,

Family is the Reason for the Season

Okay, so perhaps that isn’t exactly how the saying goes and I, like author Steve Pokorny, certainly don’t want to downplay the importance of Jesus’ birth as the linchpin to our entire Christian faith and especially this Christmas season, but Jesus was born into a family, a pretty awesome one if I might add. But don’t let me tell you, it’s already been said:

While it’s true that Jesus in his divine nature knows all about love because He is Love, we cannot simply whitewash the fact that because Jesus was also 100% human (remember, He’s true God and true man), He had to learn about human love from somewhere and someone(s). That somewhere was during the silent time in his home in Nazareth, hidden away from public eye. And those someone(s) were Mary and Joseph – one sinless, and one a sinner with incredible virtue.

It was in the home of Joseph and Mary that Jesus learned the meaning of love. From the moment of his divine conception, he was received as a gift. Jesus would grow up seeing how Joseph treated Mary, how he interacted with others, how committed he was to taking care of his family. Jesus watched Mary, the most pure of all women, the one whom He had selected from all eternity interact with her husband, of how she fulfilled Proverbs 31 before his eyes. Through their love, He witnessed how their marriage and family life quietly impacted the lives of those around him.

Go here to read the rest>>>

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Children, fatherhood, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

Learning about Love

When I think about this blog and what it is meant to be, very often I think about how I have failed at this blogging enterprise (and for the sake of drawing in a following and making a name for myself, I have) but then something like this article comes along and I am reminded that this is the purpose of this blog: to remind me, and anybody who stops by, of what it means to be a great husband and father, and what it takes to truly love, and live, and serve as Joseph did for Mary and Jesus.

Today’s bit of wisdom comes from the exceptional blog, Speaking of Scripture (really, you should read everything they post!). Peter Williamson sets up a little story of two disciples walking with Jesus wanting to learn about Love. They simply ask him, “What is true love?” Here is just a snippet of what he had to say:

“If a man and a woman find joy in one another’s presence,

if they can scarcely keep themselves apart,

if to her,

He is like the sun rising in its strength and beauty,

if she loves to hear his voice, to look at Him and to feel his arms around her,

and if to him,

She is like the moon and ten thousand stars shining on a summer’s night,

or like the fragrance of roses at dawn….

if her touch is like magic and her kisses sweeter than wine,

if they love to laugh together, sing together, dance together, cry together—

this is a gift from God, it is good.

But, I tell you solemnly, this is not true love;

it is changeable, and you cannot rely on it.”

Such a beautiful expression of what society would tell us is true love. A couple who enjoys spending time with one another and wouldn’t dream of spending one day out of the presence of the other without an aching heart and yet that is not enough! It is almost unfathomable anymore that more would be expected of us and our relationship with our spouse. So often we get caught up in the emotions and the ‘feeling’ of love and we fail to seek true love, which is described later in the story.

“If a man chooses to love his wife as Christ loves his Church,

if like Christ, he lays aside his pride and sacrifices himself for her—

putting her needs before his needs,

her happiness before his happiness,

if he will care for her and take thought for her,

if he chooses to keep loving her

when their interests diverge,

when her youthful beauty fades,

when she doesn’t speak sweetly

and when he doesn’t feel ‘loving’….

“And if a woman chooses to put her husband first,

to follow his lead as the true Church defers to her heavenly Bridegroom,

if she is patient with his failings (those he sees and those he does not),

if she encourages him and forgives him,

if she respects him even when his faults are obvious or she must pay the price for his mistakes,

if she has the courage to tell him the truth in love,

yet stand by him through it all….

 I love this explanation and yet, I still find it wanting (practically speaking). The student in me still says, but what does that really look like? I mean, that sort of sounds exhausting and somewhat depressing: “her needs before his needs, her happiness before his happiness” and “she respects him even when his faults are obvious or she must pay for his mistakes.” How can there be true joy and a strong marriage when she gets everything and I get nothing; when I have to pay for his mistakes? But then I would be missing the point. Marriage is about MUTUAL self-sacrifice! Love becomes an act of giving. If I have it, it is yours; if I want it, you may have it; if I need it, it is for you. And in that giving, you take away all the superficial stuff that can change or decay and get in the way of true love and you find yourself united forever to an eternal soul, whose Source will forever feed you with life, peace, and joy.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 18, 2011 in All In, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

All In

There is a Lifehouse song that is pretty popular right now on our local Christian radio station and I was listening to it just yesterday. The title of the song is “All In” and, while the lyrics don’t suggest this interpretation, I got to thinking about poker and how that phrase is used in the game of Texas Hold ’em.

I don’t watch much TV but I have seen the televised poker tournaments and have played at enough “Guys Night” poker tables to understand that when a person goes “All in,” that’s a pretty big deal. It means if the right card falls (or doesn’t fall), that person could be done. All the money he has just worked so hard to gain could be lost. Everything he has is now riding on this one card and this one hand and he’s just assuming the odds are in his favor. There is no turning back either. Once the person has proclaimed he is “all in” the money is counted and it is all taken from his hands. It’s in the pot. And this requires those playing the game to respond. They need to stay in the game or fold. There’s no half way now. It’s either all or nothing. And this all has a huge effect on the people watching. I find my heartrate increase as I look at size of the pot and gasp at the sheer volume of money these men are putting on the line (to win or lose) and in the end, I find myself thinking of my own boldness and whether or not I would have the guts to do that. And thinking about all this got me to thinking back to what that means in the spiritual life and what the lyrics to this song are really meant to convey.

In our faith lives, just like in that game of poker, it is a shock to see someone go “all in.” Even if all the signs are pointing in that direction, even if all the odds are in our favor, to go all in means to let go of control of everything, and leave it up to something out of our control. When we decide to go all in (spiritually speaking), it means we decide to let our will be guided by the will of God. We constantly seek the will of God and accept that He truly does know what is best for our lives. When struggles come, we trust, completely, in His providential, loving care. When kids drive us nuts at home, we choose to love them and be patient with them because we know that it is only by the grace of God that we are still on this planet and (hopefully) in his good favor. And then, just like in that poker game, all those people who are watching us will not be able to help but be affected.

There are obvious challenges and risks to living our lives “all in” and for many (including me) that challenge is a bit daunting, but at the same time, it is so intriguing and a little bit…contagious! For many in the gambling world, the thought of being able to go all in and win is what drives them to keep playing. The experience of seeing someone win the jackpot is what drives people to the casinos everyday. And the same is true for the faith…when we see someone who has gone all in and we see them rewarded with an unexplainable joy, we want it! When we read about the lives of the saints and we know that right now they are experiencing the unending glory of Heaven, we yearn for it! In fact, in those moments of yearning we can’t help but sit back and think, “why can’t that be me?”

Suddenly we will find ourselves in the middle of an argument between our reason and our desire, our fear and our faith.  Jesus Christ started the betting…he’s all in, what about us? Are we in or are we going to fold?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 16, 2011 in All In

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Role of Fathers in Raising Daughters

Yesterday “the Mom” over at Shoved to Them had a great story to tell regarding her first-born daughter growing up and entering into a relationship with a very respectful young man:

Last night, my husband got an email from a boy.  Not just any boy, but the nice son of my friend K.  The one who patiently took my 3 year old a dozen times through the penguin house at Sea World.  The kind of boy we all dream that our daughters will be lucky enough to meet someday.

…This boy wrote to introduce himself to my husband.  He listed all his credentials…Catholic, homeschooled, 9 years as an altar server, etc. and then told her father “that he promises” that their conversations will not “pose any problems whatsoever.”  He then asked my husband if it was okay that he continue emailing her and occasionally calling her.  (They live 8 hours away, there will be little if no “face to face” time.)

My husband stared at the computer screen completely flabbergasted.  “He’s asking my permission to write to my daughter?  Who does that any more?” he asked me.

“Boys who respect your daughter,” I told him. Go read the rest here–>

She spends much the rest of the article focusing on how great this young man is and how he has now set the bar for any future suitors for her daughter and she is nearly completely right.

As I was reading this, I was reminded of something my wife tells me all the time (at least since the birth of our first girl), “A daughter will expect to be treated the way her father treats her and the way she sees her father treat her mother. In the eyes of your daughter, you are the perfect man for her.” So, gentlemen, we now have our marching orders, thanks to my lovely wife!

 If we want our daughters to look for a man who will love, honor and respect her and all that God has made her to be, then we must first remind her, through our words and actions, how much she deserves to be loved, honored and respected. We need to remind her of her identity as a child of God and not as an incomplete half to a whole. We need to treat her mother with complete self-giving love and total respect. If we do all this well, then we will already be setting the bar high and all future suitors will have their work cut out for them in trying to match up to the first love of her life.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Children, fatherhood

 

Tags: , , , , ,