Words Hurt: Bad fathers are Evident…So are the good ones.

 

Hello,

It’s been a while since I have written anything.  Life has been happening and is still happening as we speak.  With school, my upcoming marriage, and children, time seems to get away from me.  This isn’t any excuse, per se.  Just an observation.

Speaking of children, I would like to talk about fathers for a second.  Yes, we get that annual day where we have the opportunity to be celebrated but there is a lot that is unseen during the other 364 days.  Now, I do not claim to be an expert in the art of Fatherhood, nor am I downplaying the art of Motherhood.  What seems to be prevalent are the numerous opinions and think-pieces about how there are so many bad fathers out there without too many opinions of think-pieces about the good ones:

The good ones that, despite lack of whatever, they still manage to sacrifice what they have so that their children get what they need.

The good ones that are trying to do the best that they can.

The good ones that are managing a career, school, etc. without neglecting their children.

Those guys.

Again, I am not trying to shame mothers in any way.  I just want the record straight.  When fatherhood is reduced to the showing of bad opinions, unresolved feelings, name calling and general disdain, it takes away from the MEN out here taking it to the max.  In other words, there could be a reason why “part-time dads”exist that have nothing to do with them actually being part-time.  Maybe, just maybe, their “part-time” status is not their doing.  Maybe, their “full-time” status has been reduced because of said issues above.  IT JUST MAY BE NOT THEIR FAULT!

For the Gentlemen doing the best that they can, this does not give you the option to slack off or stop.  This means that, despite what may be said about you, you keep doing what you’re doing…if not more.  Don’t let the words of some dictate how you help raise your children (some of this is directed right at me).  Stay focused, stay involved.  No matter the situation or circumstance, your impact matters.  You were given a gift(s) from God and the very least you can do is show appreciation by being present, involved, and dedicated.  That’s only the minimum.  The more you add makes it that much sweeter in the end.

Until next time…

(Photo courtesy of voicemalemagazine.org)

Love in the Lunch

I was at work the other day and it was time for lunch.  I went to the fridge in the break room and took my lunch out. I opened the bag and put my container in the microwave to warm up my food.  When it was done I went to my desk to start eating.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  However, when I looked in the bag I saw a note.  It was a yellow sticky that read, “Have a good day at work babe.  I love you.”  Did I mention that my fiance was here visiting? Well, she was.  She was here for 10 days from Wednesday before Father’s Day until yesterday morning.  Normally, eating leftovers isn’t really a big deal but, there was something special about what was in the bag today.  She put love in my lunch.  This may not seem like a bog deal to some of you out there reading this but, to me, this was extra special.  For starters, I didn’t know she slipped the note in my lunch bag.  Second, she did it when I wasn’t really expecting it. Third, I wasn’t in the best mood since my car is acting up, yet again.  All I know that there was not in my bag that I did not expect and it was right on time.

This makes me think of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-2).  You see all throughout life we have the opportunity to do things to and for people.  We have the chance, every single day to do something good.  The key is that you have to do it in love otherwise, what’s the point? If I tell you that I am going to do something for you just to let you know that I did something for you, that’s not what it’s about.  If my service to humanity is insistent upon itself, I’m not doing what Paul, more so what Christ has been trying to teach us.  In fact, it’s just a bunch of noise for my own gratification.  Not cool at all.

I said all of this to say that I love the Love in the Lunch.  It really made me feel special and it definitely made my day brighter.  I’m looking forward to more of the same and can’t wait until I can’t return the love.

The Organism: Stronger Than The Building

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

 

There has been a tragic event that has happened.  My former church has been burned.  The church where I was raised.  The church where my Dad was Pastor for 17 years.  The church where my oldest was baptized.  The same church where I delivered my very first sermon is now in structural ruin.  I’m trying my absolute best to not let my anger show at this time so, I am asking God and you for forgiveness.

One of the things that we have to remind ourselves of is that the Church is NOT the building where we worship.  Granted we have called said buildings and structures “churches” but the actual church that was established by Jesus Christ is YOU, WE, and US.  Paul made this very clear in Acts 17:24 that God DOES NOT live in temples that are built by man.  Yes, these buildings that we construct are meant for us to worship together corporately and to hear the Word of God preached to us.  Make no mistake, however, if the building collapses, or is destroyed, the church still lives because we are it! Paul goes on the say that cannot think that God Himself is like some piece of gold or a brick.  The children of Israel made that mistake in the wilderness.  We can’t keep thinking that.  Especially when we know better.  Yes, there will have to be a rebuilding of the building but Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church that HE built.  The one not made my human hands.

I’m encouraging all of my friends who are still members there that, while buildings come and go, YOU are part of the organism.  Therefore the Church still stands…

 

A Plank, A Fork in the Road, and A Blindfold

If you’ve ever seen some of those old pirate movies, there was always a scene where someone, who was caught by the pirates, forced to “walk the plank”.  The plank I’m speaking of was basically made of wood and stretched out from the side of the ship.  The prisoner had to literally walk on that piece of wood, to the edge, and fall off into the water.  Did I mention that their hands were tied and that they were blindfolded?  Yeah,  that too.  Needless to say, right as the prisoner was taking that last step, the hero of the film would come in at the last second and save said prisoner from certain death.  If you’ve never seen that, try this scenario.  You’re walking along a path and you come to a fork in the road.  You have to choose which way to go.  You have no idea what awaits you but, there is still a choice to be made and, no you can’t just sit there at the fork in the road! You have to make a decision.  Oh, by the way, you’re blindfolded.  What to do?

 

Well, Proverbs 3:5-6 says to trust God with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.  This means that you shouldn’t go into something without faith.  Sure you can go straight ahead and with whatever decision you want to make but be careful.  That path you choose may not be the best one for you.  Plus, you’re going in blind so, how can you even see where you’re going?  If and when you trust God, He will put you in on a path of His choosing.  Sometimes, it’s a blessing and sometimes, it’s a blessing to others, and sometimes, it’s a lesson.  You never really know what’s ahead because, well, we’re not God.  He is God so, he already knows what’s in store for you.  You can keep the blindfold.  Just be sure you’re trusting the right person.

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Happy Friday Folks,

It a cool and overcast day here in central Florida. It’s also Friday so I’m ready for the weekend. How about you?

One of the biggest and greatest challenges we face daily is the process of waiting. Man, oh man. Waiting can be EXTREMELY frustrating. Whether it’s good news or bad, we hate having to wait for either. I’m in the process of waiting for a few things myself and, I can assure you, I don’t like it! LOL You would think that those in the entertainment industry would take a hint when we have to “tune in next week” or when we have to wait for the sequel to the movie we just saw at the theater, that we do not like to wait for anything. I mean, why do we have to wait what’s considered “so long” for something we’re obviously looking forward to? Is it too much to ask that we get what we want right now?

“I’ve been waiting for the right person to come along but it’s been years…”

“When are they going to call me for that job I interviewed for?” (my personal favorite)

These are things that people are asking all day, everyday, yet all the while we are in the same boat…waiting…for something.

I had to take what Psalms 27 said and apply it where it needs to be applied:

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

I also had to realize that what God told Isaiah was also meant for me:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

There will always be a time when we are sitting and waiting for something. It’s almost impossible to not have to wait. That is a fact of this life. I can only encourage you as well as myself that sometimes, the wait is necessary in order for whatever it is you are waiting for is done correctly. Think about it. When your food is being prepared just the way you like it, do you take it out early? If you enjoy a medium well steak, do you take out while it’s still rare? When you have alterations done on clothes you want to wear, would you rather have them fit wrong? I’m sure you know the answers to all of these questions as I do. Speaking for myself, this is a big lesson for me to learn daily.

And in this corner….

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I’m not the biggest boxing fan but, I do know that, when it comes to this sport, one of the most important places the combatants go to is their own corner. There, each man or woman gets instructions, care, attention and most importantly, encouragement. You will always see a cut man as well as a man there to give him or her a drink of water. However, it’s the trainer that gives the fighter what they need to go back in and fight. “They’re coming at you with the left more than the right so, stay away from the left jabs.” These are good instructions because the trainer sees things differently. He sees you as well as sees your opponent. The strength and weaknesses that can help you turn the tide in your favor. A good trainer does that. Angelo Dundee was one of the best because he was also a trainer for the best, Muhammad Ali. I am convinced that had Angelo not been in Ali’s corner, a lot of those victories could and would have gone the other way.

What am I saying here? I’m saying that a good fighter is great and being a great fighter is paramount but, if you don’t have that one person in your corner, some of those victories can prove costly. From my own personal experiences as of late, my corner has no one but the best in it. God, being the most important but He has seen fit to give me a few and one in particular to help me fight through this thing called life. I’ve lost a few rounds but my corner has been there to give me what I needed to hear; even though I wasn’t ready to necessarily hear it. I had to listen to my corner! There was once a time when I was younger when Dad would tell me, “everybody’s in your corner but YOU!” That didn’t matter much to me until now. “My corner” has been there and I had to make a decision to join them there in order to get back in and fight.

I’ll leave you with this. There are two types of people. Those that fight and those will have to. The key is to pick your battles or, they will be chosen for you. When you have picked your battle, make sure your corner has the right people in it. You definitely don’t want to get the wrong plan of attack. I’m really fortunate and blessed that “My corner” knows what I need and can see what I need to do to get back in the ring and fight because “My corner” has a better view of the entire ring. As long as “My corner is there, I WILL WIN!!

Until next time…

Bucket List: A Review

A friend of mine had been hounding me on seeing the movie, The Bucket List. “It’s a great movie. Trust me, you’ll need tissue”, she says. I told her I would check it out because I’m always up for a great movie. Well, being the procrastinator that I am, I hadn’t gotten around to watching it–even though she kept reminding me. Well last week, I come to work and find a copy on my desk. She has actually gone and bought one! Now there was no excuse…lol. So, I made it my business to definitely watch this movies that will supposedly jerk my tears and pull on my heart-strings. Here’s where it gets interesting. I had to attend a funeral for a friend and classmate of mine this past weekend. Sometime on Saturday afternoon I got a phone call from my friend “apologizing profusely” as she put it, about trying to make me watch this movie that apparently had some dealing with death as part of the premise of the movie. Since this was Easter weekend, and since I had to work late on Monday, I decided to watch it Monday morning.

I watched the movie and was definitely not disappointed. In fact, I really enjoyed it! To answer your questions, no I did not need tissue because, like I told my friend, “I cried when Bane broke Batman’s back in Dark Knight Rises and not for stuff like this” (insert snicker). I did admit, however, that I was very moved by the movie and was definitely worth her investment. Actually, I was very appreciative that she got a copy for me because I probably would not have bought it. She gets major Kudos for this.

Now, back to the post. After watching this movie, I realized a few things. First, EVERYONE should have a bucket list. Second, everyone’s list will be different. Third, the list itself does not have to be big but should be powerful enough to have some meaning to your life. Last, do your absolute best to complete it. In the movie, Jack Nicholson’s character had a list that was mainly fun and was to be exhilarating while Morgan Freeman’s character had a list that was more rehabilitative (think 12 steps). Jack’s character wanted to skydive while Morgan’s character wanted to “witness something majestic”. By the end of the movie, it was as if their lists traded writers. One thing that stood out though, was that they each had a respect for each other’s list. I don’t want to give too much of the story away but I will say this–each one of us wants to adventure and each one of us wants closure. While one may be greater than the other, sometimes the two can be intertwined or, relative, as it were. If you take anything from this, make sure it’s the part about making The List. It may do you some good…