Thursday, June 27, 2013

Love and Marriage

I don't normally discuss hot-button topics on this blog, but in this case, I'm going to make an exception.  All of the talk about same-sex marriage, DOMA, SCOTUS and their decision, etc has been pretty much everywhere you look.  There are strong opinions on every end of the spectrum.  In listening to it all, I've come to my own conclusions about the issue.  I'd love to hear from you, my two readers, as well.  Regardless of whether we agree or disagree, I respect everyone's opinion on the subject.  It's just that I think discussion is a good thing.  So here goes. Some of you may not agree with what I have to say.  I'm okay with that.  But let me hear, in a constructive and respectful manner, why you feel the way you do about this topic.  

The bottom line is I'm for same-sex marriage.  I do not see why two people who love each other, regardless of sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political persuasion, race or any other category cannot be afforded the same rights as others.  I keep hearing the term 'the institution of marriage', and the quote from the one gentleman who deemed it an 'inherent evil'.  Really?  I'm a God following guy and I have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I'm aware of what the Bible says on this topic.  But I have a hard time believing that the God that I know and love would hate love in any form.  Heterosexual marriages aren't exactly thriving these days.  The definition of family has changed so much, and for the better I think.  The church I belong to has so many adoptive families, with parents and children of different ethnicities, and it is simply a beautiful thing.  So why then, can't a gay couple who truly love each other, raise children in a healthy environment like any other family?  And why can't they be afforded the same rights as anyone else in the same situation?  I have friends who are gay and live together, and when I am with them, I can see how much they love each other.  I can see how devoted they are too each other. I just don't get how that can be wrong.  


In a world full of so many bigger, more important issues, why does this one always come to the forefront?  Is someone else being gay and married hurting anyone?  Is it having a negative impact on heterosexual marriages?  I just don't think it is.  Isn't life hard enough to get through without having to feel like an outcast because of your sexual orientation?  There is so much hate in this world, and I think that much of it comes from a lack of knowledge.  Often we hate because we are afraid of or uncomfortable with something.  God commands us to love one another as we love ourselves.  Or did I misread that one?  

I want to hear from you on this.  I don't care which side of the discussion you fall on, I want to hear it.  We live our lives so afraid of offending people, but in instances such as this one, discussing it seems to be the only way to take it on.  Let's open our minds and be respectful of one another, and celebrate each other.  Okay, dear readers, let me have it.  Whether you comment on this blog, on my facebook page, email me, however you are most comfortable.  I hope to hear from you.  

In the words of Lenny Kravitz, 'We've got to let love rule!".  I want my son to live in a world where love rules.  I hope you have a wonderful day!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's The Little Things

Our night last night went a little something like this.  I drove up the driveway and into the garage, stopping for a second to look at some new chalk art on the driveway.  I entered the house with a grin on my face, only to find it empty and quiet.  This was quite a strange contrast from most nights when I get home from work.  I heard voices coming from the back yard and found Leigh and Will sitting on the swing set, talking about the robin's nest in the swing set.  It has gone from one egg to four eggs in 3 days.  Will seems pretty excited about the prospect of having some baby birds living in his swing set.  As soon as I stepped outside Will yelled at the top of his lungs "Four eggs!!!".  We played in the back yard for awhile, going up and down the swing set, the slide, into the clubhouse, and playing tag - Will loves to run up to us and go "Tag, you're it!"
Eventually we went inside and ate dinner.  

After we finished eating, I had promised Will we would go back out for a bit.  So, back outside we went.  Our neighbors' kids were out, too.  They have kids who are not too much older or younger than Will, and he loves playing with them.  They all have a pretty good time together.  We were playing ball, riding various ride-on toys, drawing on the driveway with chalk, and just having a good time.  The neighbors' daughter drew chalk outlines of us on our driveway, and then did our feet as well.  Everybody was having a good time.  

I'm not trying to bore you with the details of our evening last night.  Though they were far from boring for me.  I love every minute of it.  Kids are the future, and we need to put our gadgets down, turn off the tv's, and get outside and play with them!  I find it impossible to believe, but according to other more seasoned parents, there is going to come a day when Will may not want to hang out with me.  (I know, right?!?!  Can you believe that?!?)  Or at least not nearly as much.  So I'm trying to remind myself to soak all of this up while I can.  Okay, I STILL can't imagine why anyone would think that Will won't want to hang out with ME.  Seriously?!?!  

Okay, okay, Brian - get to the point.  The point is that sometimes I take the people around me for granted.  I'm too busy with my cell phone in my face, or watching TV, or just not being attentive or paying attention.  I want to do better.  Every day with Will teaches me something different.  

Have a great day, and don't forget to play!  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Obstacles

An obstacle is defined by Merriam Webster as something that impedes progress or achievement.  We all encounter them.  Physical obstacles, emotional obstacles, metaphorical obstacles and literal obstacles.  It's a part of life.  How we choose to handle them is the key.  Some see obstacles as negative things.  Many times yours truly sees them that way.  But when we choose to see them as catalysts instead, they can motivate us and drive us to overcome them. 

If you'll remember, I mentioned in a recent post that I signed up for the 2013 Chicago Marathon. This will be my first marathon since 2009.  I usually stick to an 18-week training schedule, but have been doing some light running for the past few weeks.  In the process, I have encountered one of those obstacles.  This particular one is called patella femoral syndrome, also known as 'runner's knee'.  I'm usually good for about 2 miles, and then at that point I start to feel some pain and instability in the left knee like it is going to give out.  I went 12 days between runs this last time, and last night's run was no different.  I go for physical therapy starting the 12th of this month, but that is about 3 days after my training schedule starts.  I'm pretty sure the 'physical therapy' will amount to some stretches and quad strengthening exercises, so I'm doing some research and getting started early.  Right now, I don't know if my body is going to hold up for me to ramp up the mileage and do a marathon.  But I'm going to keep pushing.  Having done them before helps somewhat.  Now I've just got my work cut out for me.  I can do this.  

What obstacles are you facing today?  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Demons

Before I became a father, I was afraid of the kind of father that I would be.  For the most part, I thought I'd handle it pretty well.  Not perfect, willing to learn from my mistakes, and always trying to learn from others fathers (especially my own, who is a great Dad and always seemed to be on an even keel even when I was at my worst growing up).  

The title of this blog tells you EXACTLY how I feel about being a father now.  I love it.  Will is the best part of my days and nights.  He can make me smile on the worst day just by something he says or does.  When I see that cute little face, and he comes running to the door to greet me when I get home from somewhere, it just warms my heart.  

So why is the title of this post 'Demons'?  Because sometimes, in the midst of the day, my brain gets busy.  I am more focused on the things I have to do than the people around me and how much they mean to me.  I get impatient, sarcastic, raise my voice, and can just be an out and out jerk.  This happened to me today.  I felt horrible about it the moment it happened, and have been beating myself up about it all day long.  

The day started out like any other.  My alarm went off at 5:15, I hopped into the shower, got dressed, and headed downstairs for breakfast.  I woke Will up just before 6:30.  His normal morning routine is to head straight to the couch for a breathing treatment, followed by a trip to the bathroom.  The breathing treatment allows him to gradually wake up, or sleep if he prefers.  He holds the mask by himself now, and even turns it on.  Such a big boy.  Then we get dressed and head to Grandma and Grandpa's house before I'm off to work.

Today, for some reason, I decided to take him to the bathroom to go potty first BEFORE the breathing treatment.  My thought was that he would be too tired to even think about it and would just hop on and go.  That was my first mistake.  He refused.  I tried calmly talking him into it.  I tried reasoning him into it.  I tried anything I could to talk him into it.  He refused.  That was when the demon came out.  I'm not proud of it.  I tossed his underwear on the floor, angrily walked out of the bathroom away from him and hit the wall, knocking the carbon monoxide detector down in the process.  I know it scared him.  I didn't see his face, but I know it did.  My intention was not to scare him.  It never is.  I lost control.  In that moment, I felt like I was all alone.  Like I alienated Leigh as she stood by and watched.  I let Will down.  As a father, I never want to intimidate my son.  I never want him to be afraid of me.  Today, in that moment, I believe he was.  And that simply breaks my heart.  I feel that as a father, I failed him today.  I'm tearing up just thinking about it.  Why couldn't I have just said okay, we don't have to go now, we can go do your treatment and try again later?  Or given him a hug instead of doing what I did?  He is just a three-year old boy.      

There are many things that we can have a 'do over' on, but time is not one of them.  I wish I could go back in time and redo that moment and handle it in a different way.  Will didn't deserve to feel the way he did.  Leigh didn't deserve to feel the way she did.  In that moment, I failed, and I cannot get it back.  But I'll learn from it.  I spent my lunch hour at home, on the couch, reading my Bible and praying, listening.  Asking God to soften my heart, dull the sharpness of my tongue, and give me a calm and patient spirit.  I know He heard my cries.  

Why am I confessing this to all of you, here on my blog of all places?  In writing this blog, my goal is to be as transparent with all of you as possible.  I would ask that you keep me in your thoughts and prayers, send me your good vibes, whatever it is that you feel comfortable doing.  When my son looks at me or thinks of me throughout his life, I want him to be proud to call me Daddy.  I want to guide him gently, and walk alongside him.  He has so many things he is learning all at once, and he is such a bright, smart, funny, wonderful boy.  He is so full of energy, always laughing, smiling, trying to have a good time.  Such a sweet spirit he has.  God definitely sent me a blessing when Will came into my life. I pray that I honor that by being the best father I can be to him.      

I'm not the world's biggest country music fan, but this video really got to me when I got wind of it from a friend.  Hope it puts a smile on your face.

Watchin You by Rodney Atkins