Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Fathers and Sons
Oct 31, 1998, my life changed again.
12 years ago, my first born son, Boo, was born and my wife and I became first time parents.
It is funny how the mind works. I knew what our lives were like before we became parents but it is almost like seeing somebody else's life now. It is kind of fuzzy and the details are washed out - that or I am just too tired to remember it all clearly.
In other words, I am a parent.
To say that our lives changed is almost an understatement because everything changed.
Not just our daily activities but our spiritual as well.
After our son was born, I had a much deeper understanding of our Heavenly Father.
As I watched Boo struggle with the basics such as learning to crawl, walk or ride his bike. Seeing his frustration and anger with wanting to do it himself and his unwillingness to accept our help. His struggles with selfishness and wanting things his own way. I started truly appreciating what we must look like to our Heavenly Father.
How much we were ready to help Boo, if only he would ask and stop thrashing around to try to do it himself - his way. Then how much better it was when he finally did pause and accept our help. It wasn't his way but it was better.
So much like us in our own daily struggles and unwillingness to ask for help. Because our pride gets in the way of asking our Lord for help. Even though the Lord is willing, even eager, to help us.
But beyond that, and in the most unexpected way - I was totally unprepared for the complete unconditional love that I felt for Boo.
Here he was - brand new, helpless, unable to provide anything to us - and we loved him beyond anything else that we owned. We would have given up everything for him to keep him safe and he weighed less than a sack of sugar.
And over the years, this love has stayed. He's made me mad, even furious! But while I may have joked about selling him off for medical experiments, I would have given my life to keep him safe.
And as parents, we do sacrifice our lives for our children. We give up what we want to do in order to help them do what they want to do. Honeymooning in France have been replaced with vacations in Disneyland and visits to the zoo. Intimate dinners for two replaced by Cub Scout Pack Meetings. Our lives are no longer driven by what we want to do but instead we drive our children to what they want to do whether that is ballet, or soccer, or scouting.
And we do it willingly. Because we love our children and, despite our grumbling, the look of joy on their faces makes up for what we give up.
And as I think about the Creator of Heaven and Earth, sending his only son to suffer and die for us on the cross - I get it.
There was no other way.
No animal sacrifice was ever going to fully make it right. Our level of sin required the perfect sacrifice.
And so, our Heavenly Father came to earth to humble himself to become one of us. He came and willingly got on that cross and suffer so that we might be reconciled and have hope for eternal life.
There was no other way and so He did it.
It was only after I became a father and held that naked, warm, squirming baby in my hand did I truly get it. There was no need for a lot of thought. I just knew that I would be willing to do anything, even give my life if my child needed it.
And as the years have passed, I have seen Boo grow and change and our relationship has changed with it. Every once in a while, I will catch a glimpse of the man that Boo will be and I am proud that I will have been a small part of that because he is going to be a good man.
And it still blows my mind that as much as I love Boo, that God loves him more. While I may be his earthly father, Boo has a Heavenly Father that has a perfect love for him (and me) that I will never be able to achieve.
And this knowledge gives me great peace. Knowing that whatever happens, even when I stumble as a Dad, that God is still there and will not stumble. And God is always ready to help - if only I am willing to ask.
Because that is the biggest lesson that I have learned from my experience as a Dad. That we can change our lives - if we are willing to ask for God's help to change our lives.
And it all started with Boo - 12 years ago. Happy Birthday Boo! And thanks!