Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the tag “Faith”

House Full Of Love

Something that has become much more evident since my wife and I became “empty-nesters.” We love the evenings of solitude, but we miss the “activity” of the house we once had. Four grown up kids later we realize that with that activity came much more.

Happiness Is

Sure there was the worry about where your kids were in those teen years when they were “just going out with friends”. Yes there were those late night phone calls with urgent requirements ( I won’t explain, but some of you understand I am certain).

In the end the house was full of motion. We tried to create a “house full of love” that our children could feel comfortable to bring their friends to. To share in the laughter and the angst of growing up together. Rock music bumping loud enough to rattle the ceiling fans. video games going into the early mornings, mysteriously missing food from the pantry, laughter and doors opening and closing frequently.

Believe me some of it got on our nerves as parents, but we knew it would end someday and we were happy to know that our kids were okay. Several of their friends have become like part of our family and we still enjoy hearing from them. Sometimes we hit and sometimes we missed with our kids. Some of our kids understood it and some truly didn’t understand the gift.

Today as they are all adults and moved out, we still truly enjoy them bringing friends (significant others too) over, sharing a meal, relating to the world in so many more levels now than in years gone by. What joy it can bring.

It really is a gift of life, and makes for great moments to share and remember.As my wife and I work to enjoy the passage of time, as we have come to realize that our time here on earth is short and we have come to cherish it even more. At this holiday season what we want more than anything that can be wrapped up with a bow is to embrace our “house full of love”.

For your parents out there with younger kids or adults, you will no doubt at one point or another in the next few weeks step back and take in the moment. It is the only one like it and then time moves on. Embrace it as one of the greatest gifts.

Thankful for Our Children

My wife has said before that as a parent you may not always like your kids, but you will always love them. There may be some sense in that for many of us. As our kids get older and become adults they have had plenty of time to formulate their own idea of the order of their lives. Sometimes they make poor choices ( and you wonder if anything soaked in during those younger years), sometimes they take things for granted or create problems that are not really there.

One thing I have learned as my kids got older ( they are all over 21 now) is that they are forever entwined in their childhood personas. When they were born, from the day they could actually respond to things around them, my wife and I could tell that each of our four children were unique in their own way. They had their own way of looking at the world from virtually the day they were born. And all the life lessons and teaching you could apply would help to shape the edges, but their personality was something they were born with.

So as adults my wife and I can still see it. We had 3 sons in a row, and each one of them had their own perspective on things. While one of them was Intellectually reason out the simplest of problems ( even at 3 years old), another one of them got easily frustrated and would work to plan to manipulate his surroundings , the third was laid back and things would roll off and he would work through things in such a simple way and just smile. My daughter was our last, she was earthy, of the earth she loves animals more than people, enjoys nature and adjusts to things overtime when she finds the balance.

One thing they all had in common was music, my children did not all become consummate musicians ( however one of them has composed a number of great songs playing all the instruments and vocals). But music was meaningful. It is the canvas in which our lives would speak through sound and emotion. It ties us together in so many ways.

So this holiday season, when my adult kids will all be visiting our home we are thankful. We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to experience being a parent and proud of what they have become.

It’s Complicated

By now I think it is pretty obvious, everyone is looking for simple answers to complicated world. They are flocking to every outlet they can to find the answer, and hoping that the answer will provide them the calmness they desire to know that “everything will be alright”. But it is also probably no surprise that everything will not be alright. The world around us is complicated.

Charting The Course

It always had been, but perhaps we weren’t so aware of the complications before. We had limited information about the complications, so we only knew what was hovering around our consciousness. We got our news from 20 minutes of TV or a half-read newspaper.

We called people on a phone and if they weren’t there we just left a message.No immediate response necessary. We didn’t look for others to provide us our opinion through 24 hours of TV or Internet. we had time to formulate it ourselves.

So the ingredients for complicating our lives is compounded by everything around us. The people who want to propagate all the fear, uncertainty and doubt. The fearful who want to share their fear with others so they can be less alone in their fear.  They are all willing to communicate to you in the most immediate ways.

Dissatisfaction compounded by threats that can be enlarged by others who are dissatisfied, compounding fear and turning it into hate and misunderstanding. It is such a circle that it appears that there is no end, it keeps going round and round.

Local strife with the police, government strife with the way things are going – feeling out of control and looking for the only way to manage things in our lives that may be not complicated. But it is complicated.

The answer doesn’t has to be complicated however, there are ways to make change that are within our reach. Counting on our faith, reaching out for our hope, making peace with the world though Him.

In a time when being “dissatisfied” leaves to blaming others, to not look to our own accountability on things. Thinking that if there isn’t  a simple answer there must be a conspiracy, or someone else to blame. That leads nowhere.

Don’t like something? Become active in making change. There are peaceful ways to get to the end.

Now back to your regular programming. I will step off my soap-box.

 

Fear of the Unknown

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Maria Robinson, American author

Fear

New beginnings come with the idea that there is always unknowns about where the journey should lead. I know I struggle with that every day. It compounds itself in worry, or makes me pull-back from what I am doing and do little or nothing at all. It can make we wish that tomorrow would not come, when there is really no way to stop it. It can create things in the moment that stop me from seeing the things that are right in front of me.

So fear of the unknown is likely to be something to contend with. Our worry over our loved ones, family and children, worry over how to make ends meet or our health. With that worry comes unhappiness, and the possibility of depression.

So what to do about it? For me I have to learn better to share my fears. With my loved ones, with my friends and spiritual leaders. with God who are  all in my life. I have always been private about things in general I guess. I probably got that from my father who seemed to be like that when I was growing up. Perhaps the stoic approach seems good on the surface- after all “why burden others” with your worries and fears?

What you find out is that if you share them, most other people have worries and fears as well. Many times the very same ones. There is no way to turn back the clock. But I can start today and make a new ending…by sharing my fears and thoughts with those who love me. For some ( perhaps even reading this blog) that may mean very little, for others it may allow them to understand themselves better as well.

 

Remaining In Hope

I will admit it, over the past couple of years posting things to this blog I have addressed hope. It comes to us in many ways but in the end it just comes down to one thing. Our ability to not let things get to the point of hopelessness.

Lightbulb

 

For us Christians ( which many of you may not be) there is a simple passage that I was reminded of the other day.

Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope” (Lamentations 3: 21-24).

The focus is on hope. Regardless of the circumstances, It is honestly healthy to face your feelings. Share them with others and with God. So many times in the past I have held them in, tried to manage them on my own. Like a “strong” person I was showing my strength by not letting things get to me when in actuality they were.

So I am hopeful that some way God will see to it that the quality of my life with my wife, my family and friends continues to be the treasure it has been. I want to be sure that they have hope. Regardless of the time left ahead in this life, there will be more after that.

In the meantime there is no reason not to have hope. It would be a very rough road if we let hope slip away. It would be hopeless. But that cannot happen with Him. And it is my hope that it will not happen with my friends and family.

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