Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the tag “Family”

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.

Future Regrets

We all seem to have regrets. It is so easy to look backward and see where there could have been opportunity to do one thing instead of another, to say one thing instead of another (or nothing at all). Regrets can easily build on themselves and make for a potentially miserably life buried under excuses and alternate scenarios.

The Holy Touch

There is no way to change what has already happened; but today has not already happened. So the future is ahead of us for what ever time we have. There are somethings we are not going to have a chance to avoid. They will happen as they do by the synchronicity of life I suppose. They may be very simple things that just pass by and we don’t even recognize their profound impact till much later.

“Some” of the future regrets may be avoided. I know that I have worked a mental list of those things ( perhaps writing them down). It is amazing to go through them one day to the next and see what things stick as important or significant in the future. I could surely make a bucket-list of dozens of things that I need to get done (life’s necessities)  or of things that I wish I want to get to ( desires, dreams, life milestones).

In the end it is the spiritual things that are important.  Everything else may be regrettable, it may be missed because there isnt enough time or money or simply just isn’t possible. It is more likely those things are centered around my own desires or temporary possessions or experiences that make up the time here on Earth.

There are only a very few things I need to assure I don’t miss:  it centers on my family, our children are our life. Like my wife, I  have invested all of my emotions on them because I love them, I have made decisions because of them that I wouldn’t have, had they not been there. So I struggle with the regret whether I have done my part to instill in them the simple unconditional belief in salvation.

For some of you reading this you may have already tuned-out. I am not trying to be preachy. And if you have children, ask your self that question. Ask your children: Just what do they think will happen at the end of their lives? Pray that it is centered in hope and faith.

I want them to be with me in the next life for eternity. Often  I am not sure that they get it.  Like most of the parents around me, we work to provide them access- but fall so short in injecting the atmosphere around them to make sure. Sunday schools, Bibles in hand, great moral compass get sideways because life happens. As parents we have never been the best examples in practice, but as our children are all adults now, we hope that we have provided enough direction in His name to get them to understand that Eternity Matters Most.

I regret that I have missed that in someway. Working hard to make that the only thing on my list worth worrying about.

 

Be True to Yourself

There is a very long story, from a very long time ago that I have rarely shared.

Charting The Course

Over ten years ago my first-born son left home to go out on his own. He had met someone on the Internet and became friends with her during his early teen years. When he turned 18 he decided he wanted to move away to be with her.

Perhaps a classic story of the prodigal son. Perhaps something that would have ended up on one of those hyper-active sensational TV talk shows [did I say it was a long story?]. It was painful as my wife and I and the rest of our family watched our son take what seemed a drastic 180 degree turn in his life and leave home with someone who we had never realized existed to that point.

There were a thousand things we wanted to say to him. There still are, though I doubt he’d listen. Yet over time and a highly emotional roller coaster of feelings, he has been out of contact with our family for over 10 years.

In reality there is only one thing to say to him. It was something that struck me the other day [another long story]. It is something I have to believe that my other three children have learned. Perhaps even because of their oldest brother, perhaps just because we had to live it with them again and again.

Be true to yourself. Don’t lie to yourself, but be honest to what you know in your core are the right things to do and be.

Sure, you will make mistakes, you will find yourself doing and saying things that aren’t really part of the inner center you have come to know. But in the end, be true to who you know you are. Use compassion and forgiveness and the awareness that you are part of the human race and God’s plan for it.  Make peace with what you are. But don’t sell yourself short. You have the potential to be the person you know you could be.   I am not talking about riches, or fame.  But be the “person” that defines your spiritual inner self. God will be your guide.

So to my three wonderful kids, I give them this advice. Don’t deny it. Be true to yourself, to who you are.

To my long-lost first son. If there was one thing to say…

Songs About “Home”

There is somethings about the word “HOME” that conjures up a lot of feelings.

Home

A destination perhaps, the place you live for sure- but a lot more than that.

A place of comfort – safety.  A familiar place. A place for happiness or defeat. Some may see it as a place to run away from. Many may see it is a place they want to return to, while others may see it as something they want to re-create in their lives based on their emotional past.

Home can be where the heart is, or can be what brings you back to the grounding you needed after you have drifted or traveled so far away from it. Like a homecoming. It can contain all of your things that allow you to regain your confidence in who you are, or contain all of the people who are there to reinforce what you were.  It can be the place you want to forget on your journey to a new life, or the place you never want to leave because protects you from the unknown.

Home for the holidays, home is anywhere you hang your hat, home sweet home, home is where the heart is, home coming, leaving home, home is where you were born, home is where you ended up, home is where your parents live, a house is not a home, home alone, home together, home at last, running from home, headed home, home by the sea, home on the hill, … the songs and references are endless.

Before you hit your “home” button.

  • What does HOME mean to you?
  • What are your favorite song(s) about “home”?

Here are just a few  favorite songs of mine 🙂

Homeward Bound – Simon and Garfunkel ( Classic)

Head  Home- Midlake ( Great Texas band)

Home Again- Carol King ( Another Classic)

Home Again- Elton John ( All new song from Sir Elton)

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