Sunday, August 7, 2011
Today I visited a new church. At one point during the sermon a woman fell asleep and began snoring. It wasn't delicate, feminine snoring. It was full force lumber yard snoring. As the snoring became obvious to others I could feel tension mounting from those sitting near the slumbering sweetie. Some shook their heads. I watched people fidget and shift in their seats. Some laughed and snickered. Some intentionally ignored the snoring. One man looked like he was considering tapping the snoring woman on the shoulder to wake her up. Many were disturbed by this woman snoring in church. Then she woke up and the snoring stopped. Amen. The sermon could continue without any distractions.
The snoring situation I experienced in church today got my brain burning. Why doesn't injustice, poverty, homelessness and hunger disturb the church as much as a snoring woman sitting in the pews? If injustice, hunger, homelessness and poverty sat in the pews and started snoring during church would it disturb us? Would we be so annoyed that we would try to stop it? Would we laugh it away or intentionally ignore it? Would we pray that it would stop so that we could listen to the sermon without being distracted?
I pray that you and I will always be disturbed by injustice, poverty, homelessness and hunger.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
My son lives in state of Washington full time with his mom. I live in Daytona Beach, FL. I admit that I struggle with guilt about my marriage that resulted in divorce and how it has impacted my son. It's not easy being a father to a boy that lives 3,000 miles away. I know that he struggles with our relationship too.
Over the past couple of weeks, my son has been visiting me in Florida. Today I took him to Universal theme park in Orlando. It was an expensive trip. $20 for parking, $319 for admission and $55 for souvenirs. I have no idea how much I spent on food and drinks.
At the end of the day, we were walking out of the park. My son reached out for my hand, held it and said, "Thank you Dad. I had a great time with you today." At that moment the money spent, the distance between us and the guilt were washed away when my son held my hand.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Norm usually does his laundry at my apartment once a week. Why? Because Norm lives in the woods.
Because my son Devon was in town, it wasn't going to work for Norm to do his laundry at my place. I called Norm and asked if we could meet at the laundromat instead. He said yes.
Norm was waiting for us when we pulled into the parking lot. We all walked in together. I gave Norm a couple of bucks to do his laundry, buy a cheeseburger and some smokes.
As we were getting ready to leave Norm said, "Hey Devon, I want to tell you something." Norm looked my son in the eyes and said, "Your Dad loves you. He is so proud of you. He cares about you. He really misses you. He really does. He tells me this all the time. Remember that, okay?"
I hope my son will always remember what Norm said.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
We met each other at the airport. He ran into my arms. He nearly knocked me over. I lost him on the shuttle. He laughed when we found each other. We had a smoothie and coffee. We couldn't find my truck in the parking garage. He fell asleep on the way home. We went shopping together and I bought him whatever he wanted including Trix cereal. He rode on the front of the cart. He looked back at me when he was riding on the front of the cart. He remembered and so did I. It was one of those things we always did together. Grocery shopping. Suddenly it was like he never left. Suddenly it was yesterday.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
My father died when I was 19. My son moved to WA state last November. My daughter just moved to Mississippi. I will be spending Father's Day weekend without them.
I miss my Dad this weekend. For many years after his death I was angry with my Father. My anger has turned into love. Love for a man who did his best even though he was far from perfect.
I miss my daughter Kiersten this weekend. I'm so proud of the woman she has become. She is a beautiful woman and a fantastic mom. For too long, I disconnected myself from her life. I'm thankful for the second chance I have been given to have a relationship with her.
I miss my son Devon this weekend. I didn't want to get involved in Devon's life before we adopted him. I fought it like the plague. Today I realize that bringing Devon into my life, adopting him and being his father is something I will never regret.
It's Father's Day Weekend. Do you know someone who is separated from their father by miles, circumstances, tragedy, divorce or death? Do you know a father who will be spending this weekend without their children? Please reach out to them. Show them that you care. Let them know that they are loved. Spend time with them. Invite them to your Father's Day celebration. Please don't ignore them. They need you this weekend.
Dad will you be with your kids this weekend? Kids will you be with your dad? Treasure those moments. Those moments will become treasures forever stored away in your mind and your heart.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I went to Wendy's with the idea that I was going to fill my belly with food. I ordered at the drive through, picked up my food and pulled into a parking spot to eat my lunch. I hadn't taken my first bite when I saw a man with a sign that said "homeless" on it. He was standing in front of Wendy's hoping that someone would give him money. I sat and watched for about 20 minutes. About 3 cars stopped and gave him money. He folded up his sign, packed up his stuff and shoved the cash in his pocket. This is when I slipped into my judgement mode and began saying to myself, "He's going to take that cash given to him by these kind folks and buy beer at the liquor store across the parking lot." He didn't. He walked into Wendy's. I decided to follow him inside.
He walked in, stood in line and began counting the few dollars he had been given. He was going to buy himself something to eat. I stepped up to him and said, "Sir, I saw you outside. What is your name?" He told me his name was William. It didn't take me long to see that he was mentally challenged and extremely hungry. I told him that I would buy his lunch. He put the money back in his pocket. I bought William two cheeseburgers. He thanked me and quickly started eating his meal.
As I was leaving the parking lot I literally walked into another man who said, "I'm halfway to a hamburger. Can you help me?" I said, "Yes, walk with me and I'll buy you lunch." We walked inside, I bought him some food and put it down at the table. He was shaking as he looked at me and said with tears in his eyes,"Thank you. My name is Steve. I can't tell you how hungry I was. I saw you buying that other guy some food. That's why I asked if you could help me. I'm sure glad that I did. God bless you today. God bless you."
The two meals cost me less than five dollars. These two hungry, broken and homeless men gave me so much more.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
MY plan was to clean MY apartment, make some dinner, watch a movie and go to bed early. That was MY plan. God had something else in mind.
I knew MY plan wasn't playing out the way I planned when my homeless friend Norm rode up to my window on his bike. God's plan was about Norm and not about me focusing on MY plan.
Norm was hungry. I fed him pizza. Norm was sad and upset about the loss of a friend. I listened to him. Norm was excited about the playoff game. I let him watch TV.
During a break in the game, Norm told me about a conversation he had with his sister who lives in Delaware. She asked Norm to move to Delaware. Norm told me that he didn't want to go and then he said, "I like Florida plus I would miss you Mike. You're my friend." A few minutes later my homeless friend Norm fell asleep in the recliner.
When MY plan was changed by God's plan I grumbled and complained. But after a homeless man shared his heart, I realized that God's plan was the best plan.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -- Jeremiah 29:11