Friday, March 7, 2014

Daddy, Will There Be Toys In Heaven?

You may or may not know this, but my family and I attend a Christian church.  I'm not writing that because I am saying my church is the best and yours isn't, so nanny nanny boo boo!!!  But to lay the groundwork for this post.  Every Sunday, my wife and I go to 'big people church' while little man goes to Sunday school in the threes room.  This is where, you might have surmised, the three year olds go.  If you guessed that already, you're eligible for today's grand prize giveaway - a gold star!!!  Try to contain your enthusiasm.  It's a free blog, what'd you expect, cash or something?  

Okay, so where was I?  In the three year old room, there is play time but they also play a short video and do some sort of activity that sort of follows along with the sermon for that week in real basic terms.  It's hard to know for sure what exactly a three year old gets out of something like that.  Well, I know for a fact they get goldfish and water for a snack - bonus!!!!  We get a tiny cracker and a tiny cup of juice, but I want some goldfish.  But anyway, he seems to enjoy it, and talks about seeing his buddies when he goes.  

Recently, we were on the way home at the end of the day and Will was talking about what he calls 'going to God'.  He is very concerned about this heaven business, and I am sure it is difficult for him to get his mind wrapped around it.  It can sometimes be difficult for me to get my mind wrapped around it.  I mean, what will heaven really be like?  We get glimpses of it in the Bible, but it's almost too much for our simple-minded brains to process.  I loved the book called 'The Shack', but found it somewhat unsettling at first that the image they painted of God was one that reminded me of Aunt Jemima.  

Aunt Jemima

     
 Not that there is anything wrong with the image of Aunt Jemima, mind you.     She and Mrs. Butterworth are etched permanently in my memory and are forever associated with pancake breakfasts.  That said, she's not exactly the image that most people have in their heads when it comes to trying to imagine what God would look like.  

I apologize, my adult A.D.D. is kicking in full force today.  So Will asks many questions about going to God and heaven, and on this particular day, his greatest concern was a simple one. He had a very serious look on his face and asked me, "Daddy, will there be toys in heaven?"  It was the sweetest, most awesome question coming from a boy whose mind is always going and who is very inquisitive.  I was honestly a little stumped by this question.    I told him I was pretty sure there would be toys in heaven.  He immediately shot back with "Daddy, will they be MY toys?  My Octonauts, and legos, and Team Umizoomi toys, and all of my other toys?"  He was waiting patiently for an answer.  So I told him that I thought there would be things in heaven far better than anything we have here on earth, and that God created us with playful spirits and wanted children to play.  All of that said, I did find that there is a Bible verse that sort of hits on this very topic.   But there is actually a Bible verse on the subject.  Zechariah 8:5 says "And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play." So I do believe Will won't be disappointed, though selfishly,  I'm not ready for him to go to heaven anytime soon.  

The next day we were riding to his Grandparents' house in the morning and he was talking again about heaven, and asked me when we would go.  I told him when God calls us to heaven, it is our time and we go.  Without missing a beat, he responded by saying that, "No, Daddy, we don't go to heaven.  Only our spirits do."  So he has been paying attention in Sunday school and has learned some things.  That made my heart happy and proud.  I want him to ask questions and come to his own conclusions about things.  I try to be honest with him whenever we have conversations like this, or whenever he has questions about anything.  I think we owe our children that, depending on the topic, of course.  

It never fails to amaze me how much I have learned from my son.  He has woken something up in me with his thirst for answers and his enthusiasm for everything.  Things I used to take for granted in my every day life now evoke a smile and thoughts of Will's reactions to them.  Fire engines, McDonalds signs, the Super 8 sign, contrails, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and security alarms - all of these things and so many more mean something to Will.  And because they mean something to him, they mean something to me.  He is such an absolute blessing in my life.  I am thankful every day that God brought him into our lives. And honestly, I really really hope there are toys in heaven!!!!    

     




Monday, March 3, 2014

Daddy Angst

Even if you've never read my blog before, you know from the title that I love being a Daddy.  In the nearly four years I have had the privilege of being Will's Daddy, I have experienced the absolute joy that being a parent brings.  But there is another side to that coin, at least for me. You see, I am a worrier by nature.  I have tried to let go of the worry, and have had some success with it, especially when I lean on God and let Him have control.  But I'd be lying if I said that wasn't just flat out hard for me.  

Can I be completely transparent with you?  Along with the absolute and pure joy that being a Daddy brings me, there are times when a feeling of anxiety about Will come flowing in out of nowhere.  Maybe it's because I know what a cold, cruel world it can be sometimes and I want to protect him from it with everything that I have.  I hear stories of how mean kids can be to each other, and the thought of him riding on the school bus by himself terrifies me.  When he's sick, I worry too much about it.  Lately, he's been struggling to sleep through the night without coming into our bedroom at least once a night, sometimes more, and I worry that he's not getting enough sleep.  Will he be included?  Will he have friends?  Will he be safe?  I pray every day that he is surrounded by people who point him towards God, and who are kind and good influences on him.  I don't want him to live in a bubble by any means.  These are just very honest feelings and thoughts that I sometimes have.  It's a little ridiculous, isn't it?  He is such a wonderful boy, and the older he gets the more he is capable of.  He has a sharp mind and a strong body, not to mention a good heart.  I know I have nothing to worry about.  Yet I do worry. In my head I know it's silly to worry.  But my heart won't let go of it.  

For some reason, when I think of Will growing up, I get anxious.  Don't get me wrong, I get excited as well!  Whatever he decides to do, whatever path he takes, I will love him and support him.      

Have you been there?  Have you felt the anxiousness and the worry creeping in on you?   I'd love to hear your stories of how you dealt with or are dealing with your worry as a parent.  Maybe we can compare notes.  I'm still relatively new to this parenting thing, so I'm always willing to listen to what others have to share about it.  

For now, I will pray and trust that God has good things in store for my little man.  That tends to quiet the voice of worry and bring me some peace of mind.