Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Serial Blogging Part 1

I'm grateful this morning. Grateful for a lot of things. Allow me to elaborate.

Those who saw my Facebook status on Friday will know that by the grace of God Almighty I survived a 50% layoff down at the cinnabar mine. I'm grateful for that, and the mortgage payments on Home Port 2.0 will continue for now (my bank is grateful for that). But even more than that, I'm grateful that I have such a wonderful, Godly, beautiful, tolerant, patient wifey, Her Majesty. I love you, Your Worshipfulness. I am also supremely grateful for my illustrious little son, my Jackbaby. Picking words to describe the degree of my gratefulness is umm... hard.

Oh, H.M. and the Captain have sailed to visit the Admiralty at Port of Mobile without me, leaving me completely unsupervised for the week. Only First Mate Belle is here to stare disapprovingly. So, since I have basically no fresh content to contribute this week I will share something that I thought I would never share, to wit, this letter to Jack:

February 11, 2009

To Jack Morgan, My Son,

You turned six months old yesterday. I have to confess that I love to watch you. In your crib, when you are awake (or not), when I’m holding you (or not). I find myself staring at you even while I’m having a conversation with someone else. I love the few days every week when I get to see you wake up. Every day and every experience is brand new for you. It makes me feel young to just see you do it all for the first time.

But I’m ashamed to say that I have an ambiguous feeling of dread. Maybe it’s a lack of faith. Maybe it’s a by-product of these uncertain times (but what times aren’t uncertain?). Perhaps I’ve learned what all parents are destined to learn: how to worry. For whatever reason, though, I have a need to write you this letter from a very new father to a very new son. My goal is to give you something permanent in this moment to shed some light on myself and my life, so as to help you in yours, even in a small way. I don’t mean to sound trite, but I surely will. Bear with me in saying the things that need to be said.

Follow the Lord, Jack. Trust in Him. In my life, some have distilled the Gospel and the Law of Christ into rote rules, that when followed strictly, without emotion or compassion or judgment, would lead to Heaven. These almost entirely ignored the Holy Spirit (and faith). Others simplified Christian living into simply having a proper frame of mind, discarding most, if not all commandments, however simple and explicit, in their search for Heaven. These people seemed to almost worship the Spirit alone. Neither of these ways lead along the path of the Gospel. The time will come when you’ll think going your own way is how to serve Him best. Be very careful of this. Hold to what you yourself will see written in the Bible, to what your mother and I will teach you. I hope we will do right in this. Jack, nothing is more important than your relationship with God and our Lord Jesus. Nothing. Not your family, your job, your money, your friends, your status, your pride, nothing. If you need to be a pauper in this life to be righteous, then proudly be a pauper. If you need to resign your prestigious position to hold to God, then do it without hesitation. If you look like a fool, so be it. If your family decides it holds first place in your life, gently remind it that it’s only second. Young as I am, I’ve made all these mistakes, and don’t want you to do the same. I heard a man say, this week, in fact, that God has made the Law of Christ easy (Matthew 11:30, I John 5:3). It’s the Devil himself that tells you otherwise.

Learn from history, Jack. People will laugh and say that it’s ridiculous to look into the past, when today’s new and shiny world is so far-flung from history's dusty books. Old ways of thinking, they’ll say, can’t interpret these modern times, that are different from any other time that's come before. They’re wrong. Indeed, as The Preacher said some thousands of years ago, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Learn from those captains of men that walked the earth and conquered it, and are now long dead. They took the time to write what they discovered, so that you don’t have to. I can’t emphasize how important this one point is. Even if something, by chance, has never been seen before on the face of the earth, the questions raised will have been explored already. Find the answers for yourself while others scratch their heads.

Don’t chase after money. I made this mistake early. Try to do what you love and make a good living at it. But don’t be fooled – everyone can’t do this. It’s okay for a job to just be a job. If that’s the case, some will tell you you’re a failure, or even that you’re not using the talent that God gave you. Don’t let their well-intentioned enthusiasm discourage you. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said these words in 1956:

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.’
Work hard. Work harder than anyone around you. You’ll know when it’s interfering with more important things. When it does, put it back in its proper place in your life. Giving serious advice from a movie is a real risk. But giving advice from a mobster movie is an even bigger no-no. But here it is, from Don Corleone: “Do you spend time with your family? Good. Because a man that doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” I guess even underworld kingpins get some things right.

The finest foods, the finest houses, the finest possessions are only temporary. These things are nice, to be sure, but they easily come and more easily go. I realized that when I saw a tree lying over our beautiful new house last year. The house wasn’t so beautiful anymore. Mold quickly grew on the things inside. They weren’t beautiful anymore, either. Don’t put your trust in these things. Life is far, far more, and the earlier you realize that, the richer and more colorful your life will be. Jesus said, “The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.”

To be Concluded...

1 comment:

Linda said...

Beautiful...what a lucky little boy he is. :o)