Monday, May 16, 2011

Late Night Reflections On Being a Father

It's been almost a year since my daughter was born.  I remember having the conversation with my wife about whether or not we were ready to have children: I now realize how silly of a question that really is.  Can we ever be ready for this?  Isn't the idea of a "wanted" child one of the most selfish and perverted desires in American culture?  We thought we were ready, and by ready I mean that we thought we would be in a healthy financial and emotional position to be able to raise a child without screwing them up too bad.  But were we ready to give up our mornings, the few hours that we have together as husband and wife, the "extra" money we might have that is now going towards infant puffs and teddy bears?

Becoming a parent is more than fulfilling some desire that Jamie or I had to define our lives according to who we are as parents or what we think we are "supposed" to do as a young married couple.  The openness to welcoming children into our lives cannot be separated from the willingness to open our lives to God's mission in this world.

Jamie and I both believe that the answers to humanities biggest questions are summed up in the proclamation that "Jesus Christ is Lord."  It is by no means an easy answer, nor can it rest as a simple proclamation.  Instead, it means that we live our lives a certain way and within a particular story.  It means that we do our best to raise our daughter to love God and her neighbors.  It means that we actively walk through our everyday lives looking to love the less fortunate, the over-fortunate, and the "just as fortunate as everyone else."

Becoming a father has revealed some of the darkest parts of who I am.  When my wife wakes up at 3:30 AM and tells me that my daughter is awake and needs a bottle, and my only response is anger and frustration.  When my daughter does not want to play by herself but instead craves to be held, yet I want to do nothing but have her play by herself so that I can read a few more pages of a good book.  When I want to purchase a new album on iTunes, but instead we need more formula this month.  These are real scenarios and real feelings that I was never ready for, and I thank God that I had not, because then we "would not have been ready."

Because the reality is that, given our own selfish desires, we would never want the late night wake ups, the "my times" ruined, or the "my money" taken.  Thank God, that raising this little child is about so much more than what I want for my own "happiness."

I can proclaim that this last year has grown and stretched me to places that I never thought I would be, and I am grateful for my best friend Jamie and my beautiful daughter Lydia.