Happy Friday, ya’ll.

It’s hard to believe, but next week, we are going in for our first “birth class.” I really have no idea what to expect from that, other than, “stand there and don’t be an idiot.” Or something like that. I don’t think there is much for guys to screw up in the delivery.

There was an awesome amount of stuff throughout the week, but these are the items that kept me most entertained, challenged and encouraged.

In My Netflix Queue

Several months ago, I recommended a documentary, That Guy from that Thing, a look into the world of character actors. This week, I really enjoyed I Know that Voicea similar documentary about the lives and work of voice actors. It’s actually more entertaining than That Guy, and it’s an interesting look into an industry that I know next to nothing about, though we are all touched by their work nearly every day.

In My Blog Reader

Leanne Penny wrote a postmortem on the little church plant that she has been a part of. When I say postmortem, of course that should indicate that the church plant is now over. If you have ever been a part of a church that ended, you know that it is a very emotional thing. The questions and self doubt are endless and it really does change the way you feel about church. Leanne captures all of this in all its painful beauty.

Caleb Wilde, our favorite funeral director, discusses a grief that is all too often born silently and secretly. It is the grief over a miscarriage, a life that was never known or seen by anyone, but is no less real. And again, I know from personal friendships and experiences that everything he writes is very true.

Jeff Anderson writes why loving God and loving others too often turns into just blah blah blah.

Emily Wierenga shares the truth about mental illness. Again, I cannot think of too many topics that affect more people than this. An important discussion to keep having.

And finally, Zack Hunt shares the ironic thing about fundamentalism, an opinion very similar to something I have shared here on the blog.

And that’s it for me this week. I will see you on the other side.

There will be a time, perhaps several years, when I am infallible, invincible and completely inerrant…

Yes, the time that my family will look at me this way and sincerely believe that I know best will be all too fleeting.

Yes, the time that my family will look at me this way and sincerely believe that I know best will be all too fleeting.

At least, I will be these things in the eyes of my child. I have to be honest and say that I’m looking forward to this, because the last time I was all of these things was when I was a teenager, and that’s been a while.

Yes, they say that parents are the equivalent of superheroes from a child’s point of view, able to do anything at all, solve any problem, and speak words of truth at all times. Every word I speak will be completely true to my child. Everything I do will be great in the eyes of my child.

Those will be nice days, the days when I have someone around who is too innocent to know the truth about me. Those days will not last long enough. Because the fact is, one day, a day that I cannot see nor prevent, my son will discover the truth about me.

That I am a hypocrite.

And maybe you have not realized it…but your children will discover the same about you.

But don’t worry. It’s not all bad news. In becoming hypocrites, we become human.

Continue Reading…

So, I had kind of a revelation this weekend.

Cheri is 28 weeks pregnant. And my revelation is that we are, like, less than three months away from having a baby.

28 weeks

I know, kind a dumb revelation.

But the thing is that we are finally in kind of a sweet spot. Cheri’s miserable first trimester is a distant memory, and despite her discomforts, she’s actually enjoying herself. She says she can see why some women enjoy and anticipate pregnancy.

She also said she can see how women get postpartum depression. Because after the better part of a year of anticipating and having this little thing doing bicycle kicks inside you, it’s a shock to have reality hit.

I actually knew all-too-well what she meant.

I know I’m not supposed to. Postpartum is supposed to be a woman’s thing. But I am actually enjoying my wife’s pregnancy too. I’m going to miss “Big Cheri.”

For me, the anticipation of something new is always great. Whether it’s my first child or a new job or a new book that I’m writing, I love the anticipation. My mind builds up the excitement and the expectations. It idealizes and romanticizes.

But that’s a problem, because anticipation doesn’t get to last forever. And when it ends, reality sets in. I have had some of my most depressing episodes immediately after some big ambition is fulfilled. I know, that’s weird. But anticipation has a way of screwing up our enjoyment of the real thing.

I think a lot of us must have that feeling, that let down, whether it’s real, clinical postpartum depression, or we just got a new job or moved to a new city or we just finished a great big project. It’s that feeling of empty, that dread that maybe there is nothing left to do, nothing left to look forward to. It’s that feeling of being drained of all of the exciting brain chemicals that have been steadily dripping for months on end.

But the postpartum is always a lie.

There is always more to do.

Always more to look forward to.

Always a new horizon.

Because soon, this horizon that we just reached will be old news.

And our adventurous, primal human brains will tell us to go on another hunt.

I’ve spent most of my life in Kansas City.

That’s Kansas City, Missouri, mind you. Not Kansas. A few out of town sports announcers will arrive from time to time and say something idiotic on television like “It’s such a clear day here in Kansas City that you can see all the way to Missouri!” 

Anyway, for my entire conscious life, it has been pretty easy to not be a sports fan in Kansas City. I mean, I’ve literally never blogged about sports. Don’t even have a post category for sports. I’m not a fair-weather fan. It’s just that tuning out a terrible season is a self-defense mechanism.

We Kansas Citians are a long-suffering breed, the kind of folks who will diligently root for our teams through 100 loss seasons. But we won’t talk about them in mixed company. If you are from another city, I will not discuss our hometown teams with you. Yeah, our house is a mess, but it’s our mess, so leave us alone.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy week in Kansas City, as a sort, not really, but eternally hopeful sports fan.

I was honestly not going to watch the Chiefs on Monday night. I did not think I could stomach our city being humiliated. I would never have guessed it would the Patriots who would be humiliated in front of an international audience.

And then our Royals, pulling off one of the most dramatic wins ever…in their first postseason appearance since I was two years old.

I think our sports teams really might be like our messy homes. It doesn’t matter if the house is a mess. And it doesn’t matter how the season turns out. It’s our mess, and we are happy with it.

A few weeks ago, Cheri and I had a scare with the baby.chromosomes2

Of course, you probably know that pregnancy is already kind of scary. And everyone worries about their child’s health. That’s nothing new.

So when Cheri had a routine appointment with the genetic counselor, we were not overly concerned.

It was only when the counselor started digging deep into the family history that we got worried. Years ago, our family tested positive as carriers of a Fragile X pre-mutation. Fragile X is the leading cause of inherited mental retardation. No one in the family is symptomatic, but the family carries the gene. We were told at the time that it posed little to no threat.

The counselor disagreed.

She basically told my wife that with the level of intervention we received to get pregnant, we could have (read: should have) “weeded out” any abnormal embryos.

It’s a good thing I was not in the room, because if I had been, that counselor probably would have left with a red hand-shaped mark on her face.

I thought “This is your ‘counsel?’ To tell us what we obviously chose not to do?”

The next couple of weeks were pretty torturous as we contemplated what our future might hold. And we came face to face with a few dark realities of the business of baby-making today.

Continue Reading…

Some people have a resume so long, it puts the rest of us to shame.

Henry David Thoreau was a lot of things I am not. An author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, surveyor, historian and probably a whole lot of other things. He did it all in just forty-four years, and seemed to do everything, from writing philosophy to trekking through Maine, with great purpose. He said it himself, he desired to live deliberately and today, he is still considered to be a role model for gentlemen of rugged and simple aspirations.

Thoreau’s life was not an accident. He was a man who knew how to get around and not waste time. I admire that a man who lived a relatively short life could take the time to keep a two million word journal over twenty-four years, yet find the time to accomplish all of the other matters which interested him. Here I am, at thirty-one, thinking I don’t have time to live deliberately!

It doesn’t seem to me that a man who accomplishes so much in a mere four decades spends much of his time wishing that he had more time. I don’t see great men wishing for some bygone era, or living in the “glory days” of their youth, or pining for the “good old days” (which never seemed as good when they were new.) What fascinates me about men like Thoreau is their constant and continual thirst for new, rather than the old. Here was a man who never got tired of seeing new things, gaining new knowledge, having new insights, experiencing new joys. He seemed to have little need for the past, other than to learn from it. For him, the future was always more interesting than what has already been.

For a man as reflective as Thoreau, it seems funny that he would tell people to stop living in the past, stop wishing for our “old days” back, stop trying to make things they way they used to be.

thoreau

There are a lot of people who are obsessed with what used to be (or how they imagine it used to be). And I suppose we can tag along with them and dream.

But the thing about wishing for the past is that those wishes never come true.