Friday, July 18, 2008

Kids grow up too fast

I had fantastic day Tuesday. There was free golfing all day in honor of Citizen week in Bismarck. My dad and step mom are in town for their Summer visit and my 9-year-old son recently took up golfing. So for the first time ever, we had a 3 generation golf outing. After a fabulous 9 holes we had lunch at the North American Steak Buffet (I know, my good day just keeps getting better).

So I'm sitting there in the booth just aglow in the warmth of my family. Having my dad and my son sitting with me was so precious I cannot put that into words. My dad left to load up his plate again so I was just sitting there with my son and I asked him, "so, whaddya think?"

With a response so fast I think it put a crick in my neck, my son said, "What do you want me to think?"

I was shocked! This is my son, my baby boy! I expected his face to get all red, I expected him to smile shyly and shrug his shoulders. I did not expect a snappy comeback. Recovering quickly, however, I asked him, "OK, how are you feeling?"

He looked at me with these big eyes and with all the seriousness he could muster, "dad, I'm feeling really happy." It took every ounce of will power I had not to burst out laughing he was so serious. I looked at him with all the seriousness I could gather and said, "Brian, if you're happy, then I'm happy."

Again, with yet another lightning comeback, Brian said, still very seriously, "no dad, if YOU're happy, then I'm happy." I couldn't help it. LOL!! If you've spent any time chatting with computers you more than likely have run across these three letters which mean "laugh out loud". Its a quick way for people to type how they are feeling. At that moment I was LOLing like nobodies business.

My son has a way of raising just one eyebrow I've wished my whole life I'd be able to do but I just wasn't blessed with the "one eyebrow raising" gene. Combining the raised eyebrow with his big eyes he has a look so quizzical as if to say, "are you nuts?" Brian was looking at me with this expression as I was laughing and laughing and laughing some more.

I took a long drink of iced tea and came to my senses again. Brian still had his eyebrow raised and I was afraid it would freeze that way so I said, "Brian we must be two very happy people."

Another snappy retort, "dad, I just don't get you sometimes." ROFLOL!!!! These letters mean "rolling on the floor, laughing out loud". Which I happened to be doing then. Brian had his eyebrow back up AND was shaking his head as if to say, "my dad has completely lost all his marbles." If I had a dollar for every time I just "didn't get" my children all my credit cards and my house would be paid off with money to spare.

Just then grandpa came back and asked, "What's so funny?"

Kids grow up too fast.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Be kind to others

Earlier this week my wife and I got into a spat. I know during our 20 years of marriage imagine us having a disagreement? It was nothing really, compared to the humdingers we had during the first 2 years when we were still getting the bugs out of the system. (computer term) We were still speaking to each other just not in the sugary sweet tones that are usually in our conversations.

We went to bed and she promptly rolled on her side with her back to me. I characteristically rolled my eyes and pulled out my recent issue of Guideposts magazine as I am wont to do. I read a story about a twin sister who died instantly from a stroke. The living twin was obviously going through a hard time. Both sisters were married with children and had planned a vacation at a beach where the women had spent their Summers growing up only this time the husbands and children would all be together. Now the 2 families were on the vacation dealing with one of them not being there.

With tears in my eyes, I turned my head and said, "honey, I love you." All I could think about was what if both of us went to sleep that night and only one of us woke up the next morning? How would the living person feel that the last words we spoke to each other were spoken out of irritation?

In Paul's 1st letter to the Corinthian's he tells us three things remain. Faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love. I'm not sure, but I believe there is also an East Asian proverb that says, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger." Wise words. Sage advice. I believe the foundation of the Christian faith is love. I believe when those of us are standing at the judgement seat of God we will be most seriously judged on how we treated others during our lives. Not just our friends and loved ones, but our enemies as well.

Loving our enemies is probably hardest to do. It's tough to love suicide bombers, child molesters and rapists, but I believe there is a great difference in loving a person but not loving a behavior. I'm not perfect, if I see or hear about someone being violated I'm going to get angry and if I'm able would probably take action to stop it occurring. But one of my daily prayers is, "Lord, help me to love others."

I love you,

Friday, July 11, 2008

Labyrinth Experience

This blogging business is much harder than it looks. I was all excited and created my first one and then haven't posted anything for over 2 months. Maybe my life is simply too uneventful to contain anything worth reading.

However, I did have a meaningful experience this week walking a labyrinth that I was amazed to find out is in the Bismarck area. But first a little background for those of you new to what labyrinths are. I've always been interested in puzzles and mazes are just one type of puzzle I grew up with and enjoyed as a pastime. Mythology has also been a long time interest and Theseus and the Minotaur was a familiar story of a hero going into a maze or labyrinth to defeat the Minotaur that dwelled at the labyrinth center.

But it wasn't until a "Touched by an Angel" episode on TV several years ago that I was introduced to the use of labyrinths as a spiritual enlightenment tool. Most of the puzzle type mazes or labyrinths are multicursal which means there are multiple paths some of which lead to dead ends. The spiritual type of labyrinths are usually unicursal which means there is only one path albeit a very long and winding one. To traverse a unicursal labyrinth all you need is a little patience and trust in the "path".

After the introduction from the TV show I didn't really think of labyrinths much after that. There wasn't any in my area that I knew of and I didn't know when I would ever be somewhere that had one. Then in a recent issue of Guideposts magazine there was an article about labyrinths as well and a reference to a web site to where you can search for labyrinths in a given area. Would you believe we have one right here in Bismarck at the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery located at the University of Mary? Information about this labyrinth can be found at

So during my lunch break this week I went over to this site and walked it myself, it is open to the public during daylight hours every day of the year. It was, please pardon the pun, aMAZEing. Labyrinths are wonderful tools of reflection. As you walk slowly along the path you have plenty of time to purge any distractions and open yourself to seek a communion with God. You are proceeding toward a goal (center of the maze) which is much like our spiritual walk in our lives. You can pray, you can reflect, you can just enjoy the peaceful serenity of "getting away" from the daily routine. I truly enjoyed my walk towards the center which took about 15 minutes of normal walking speed. Once I got to the center I paused spending some time in quiet prayer, thanking God for the experience and the people that worked so hard to construct the labyrinth. My walk out was much faster and more purposeful as I found myself refreshed and renewed and ready to face once again the pressures and stress of the rest of my day.

Labyrinths are amazing things and I encourage you to try them out if you ever have the opportunity. I pray you will find yourself closer to God or at the very least a refreshing break from a busy life.