Putting Fear in the Fearless: Tales of Failure as a Father

Yesterday, my world stopped, and a fear arose. I am still shaking off the ghost of what happened. Sleep has not gone well.

This weekend was a long and busy one. On the list of activities was getting together with my Dad, stepmom, and family.  We wanted to hang out, and have the kiddos go swimming at the hotel. So, we packed up and headed to the other side of town. The overcast, rain-laden clouds hung heavily in the sky, however, this did not affect the interior of our minivan as we traversed through the city. The littles knew we were on our way to see Grandpa and Grandma.  Their conversation was peppered with comments about pizza and even the word “pool.” As for Kati and I, our conversation was more softened about the busy times we have found ourselves in.

We arrived. Like a heard of animals we descended upon the hotel’s atrium. There, family and pizza boxes awaited. The boys took over a table to snack, juggle children, and play cribbage. Some of the children wandered over asking what we were playing. Smiles flippantly appeared upon all of the dad’s faces, it was about time to pass this game on to the next generation. Such a stoic torch, one that has been passed throughout our family for longer than many of us know.

After some pizza, and cribbage, the locals were getting restless. It was also at that time that some of the other children needed to go home for naps.  So, the gaggle was reduced to our three and one of my nieces.  My brother stayed to hang out with us, and to see if his daughter wanted to swim. So, a quick change into swimsuits was had. There is something amazing about the sound of little feat running down long halls. The heavy padded carpet making a thud, thud, thud that reverberates as the base, below the trill of their voices. The anticipation and excitement crescendos with each and every spoken word. I am thankful that it was mid-afternoon. This lessened my fear that anyone could be sleeping. We opened the door to the small indoor pool and all worked to contain the excitement of the children.

I hopped in the pool.  Like children looking at a puppy both Zoey and David circled around the pool, they wanted to jump in. They listened. Many of the methods that I have learned, and those that were added by family swim lessons at the Y took hold. I watched as they both sat down, feet dangling in the warm water.  My children don’t fear the water.  Heck, they do not really fear anything. They know that they are strong, I know that they are resourceful, and my fear is that they are fearless.

When it comes to water, I have a long history. I have been on swim teams since I was a teenager.  Though not the fastest, there was a passion. This passion still exists today. I would rather be in a pool swimming endless laps over a short sprint on a track, any day. I took scuba diving for credit in college… because I wanted to. Since then I have used my certification speeding time floating in the endless abyss. As a result, I have learned not to completely fear, but to respect the water. Most of all, I have learned that things can happen in a second that can change your life, or even end it.

Much like looking to the stars and running barefoot in the grass, I have been working with my kids on learning how to swim. Teaching them that some fear is good, and a ton of respect is better. We have taken family swim lessons, and have plans for more. My comfortable relationship with water is something that I want to pass on. For both its power and its beauty are mesmerizing.

I pointed to Zoey. She stood, hands exactly wringing themselves. I counted, using my fingers, to three, and with a high-pitched, gleeful scream, she jumped to me. We laughed, and giggled. I moved her back to the side to hold on. As she was climbing out, I pointed to David.  He stood, and I could not see any fear, just the contained excitement shivering through his little body.  I counted, using my fingers, to three, and he leaped into my arms with a scream of joy.  For what seems like forever, this rotation continued.

Eventually we ended up in the shallows. 3 feet deep, stairs with a rail. I looked and there was the rest of the family. My niece was playing in the shallows, showing me how tall she was. My dad and brother were playing a game, while Kati and my step-mom were chatting (Jacob in tow). Meanwhile, my two wanted rides.  So, I started with Zoey. David sat down on the steps, holding onto the rail, as we had practiced. With a whoosh I was off with Zoey. As I made it to the middle of the deep end, I turned to look… and my heart stopped.

David had decided to stand up, his foot slipped, as did his hand. He was in water over his head. His arms began to flail, he tried to call out for help. My son was drowning.

 

fear has come

 

Fear gripped me like a vice, and my heart stopped.

In a flash I jerked towards him, arm stretched. I needed to get to my boy. Zoey was on my back, arms around my neck. As I made this move she tightened. My scream for help, for anyone on the side to help my boy, it was cut off as her little arms held on for dear life.

He just kept flailing, and bobbing, struggling to float, trying to breath. I tried to lunge towards him again. Fear riddled me as I tried to reach my drowning son. One arm outstretched, with every tendon and fiber reaching for him in vain. I tried to scream again. My chest pounding against my daughters little arms wrapped tightly around my neck. I reached up to pull Zoey’s arms off my throat as a blur came from the right of the pool.

In the wake of it all, by pure chance, my brother happened to look at me. He saw the look of horror and fear on my face. Following my gaze, he saw David. He leapt to action, and leapt into the pool.  He pulled David up and held him close as I finally reached them.

In that moment, all were on their feet. My brother placed David on the side of the pool, he sat there coughing and crying as we flocked to him. I have never been so happy to see a coughing little boy in my whole life. I reached out for him as tears filled my eyes.

My heart began to beat, slowly. But the fear remained.

I hugged him, looked in his eyes, asking over and over again if he was ok.

“Oh-tay daddy” he replied, over and over again.

Finally, after a few minutes, many tears, and some towels, we continued our play, though a bit more restrained than before.

Now we watch and make sure that there are no signs of Dry Drowning. This is something that all parents should be aware of, and never experience. It will add a whole new level of fear regarding the pool for your kids. Long and short of Dry Drowning is where some water enters the lungs. It causes some swelling that limits the oxygen exchange, and has the same result (and effects) of drowning. It can happen with a delay up to 24 hours before the person shows any signs that it is going on. Though rare, it happens. We, as parents, should know about it, and fear it. This is especially relevant as summer is near. The time of pool parties, and swimsuits eagerly is ahead of us.

Fear be damned, today is another day.

But, as I said, I cannot shake the ghost. As a result, I fight to get sleep. While I lay there, exhausted, I see those moments over and over. Almost as soon as I close my eyes, I am taken back. I watch it playing from a birds eye view. I consequently rip myself apart. How did I let myself get so far away? It does not seem like it was that far. It is because of this that I will fight to be a better dad. But, since I know myself well enough, I will also never cease chastising myself for not getting there sooner.

Most of all, I will never cease being thankful for my brother jumping in. My brother is a hero. Seconds matter, and in those seconds, he jumped in.  Nicholas, if you read this, know that I love you, and that I owe you. I will never thank you enough for jumping in to help my little boy. You said it was no big deal because I would have done the same, and I agree with you. But it is a big deal, to me. Thank you Nicholas, a thousand times, thank you.

Later that day, when I was talking to David about what had happened, and that I was scared, I could see that he was too. When I told him that I loved him, he looked at me. His beautiful eyes filled with love and he replied,

“I love pizza”.

Finally, all was right with the world.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

    Love big: What would you do?

    What a week, and it is only Tuesday. I have been wracking my brain on if and how to respond to something for the better part of two days. Then, this article came across my desk, and all things came to a halt. We talk a lot about how we are raising our kids to live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.  But it is awesome to see other kids doing things that exemplify this.

    The long and short of the article is about Blake’s Big Heart. This boy, Blake Wainwright, is doing something awesome.

    Love Bigger - Blake

    “When Blake Wainwright’s sister was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis at four months old and needed skull reconstruction surgery, Blake wanted to do something to help the hospital that was helping his sister.”

    Blake is taking up the banner of a sibling, and showing nothing but love, bigger love than many.  In just a few years he has raised $4,000 for UNC Children’s Hospital, where his sister has received care for her Craniosynostosis. $4,000 from a boy who is now eight years old. Let that sink in a little bit. An eight year old boy is raising money for the hospital that is taking care of his sister, because he wanted to do something to help.

    Love Bigger: Why is this important?

    In light of all the things going on in the world today, this story is the reminder of all the love that is out there. Ladies and gentlemen, what Blake is doing is rare. There is a lot of people out there that stand with mouths agape as they face things like Craniosynostosis. But Blake is showing us what it means to love bigger. Here is a link to his Facebook page if you want to stop by, give them a like, and tell him how awesome he is. After all Blake is showing us all how to…

    Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

    Dear Zoey: A Long Overdue Letter For Your Birthday

    My Darling Zoey,

    This is a long overdue letter for you about the event of you turning five.  Please look past the few days that have past. You know, all too well, that things have been busy at home.

    My little bit, I cannot believe that this day is here.

    Time has flown faster than the speed of light since the moment you were born. There is a strangeness in this time.  For as fast as it has gone, I remember so much. Going back to the moment that you were born. Seeing you, this little, beautiful bundle of joy, and hearing your first cry. There was the long walk down to the NICU which felt like a lifetime in the moment, and a lifetime ago all at once. I often look back at this photo and feel my eyes begin to fill with tears.

    Zoey in the NICU

    I see you, my beautiful princess. Your smile, your little hand wrapped tightly around my finger. You had every reason to be angry in those days, hooked up to machines, getting poked, prodded, scanned and tested. Instead, you were happy. On your very first day with us you showed us how strong you are, and how joy can conquer every situation. We bonded. Instantly. Like a brilliant supernova cascading a radiant glow across the universe, you brought love forward.

    Over the last five years we have sat through countless surgeries. I have seen this room more times than any should, knowing that once is more than enough for most. But each and every time, when you are done and back in my arms, you are at peace. We have laughed and watched countless movies while in in the PICU. I have told you fantastic stories to help you take your mind off the pain that you have felt.  All in some effort to cry out and take the pain from you, onto me.  You know that I would do this for you, if I could. But I know that you do not need me to. It is humbling to be your dad. To know that you can handle all that you are facing, with joyous grace.

    Zoey and Jacob

    As these years have passed you have become the ever doting big sister to two little brothers. The love and compassion that you have for them is visible to all who meet you. Just like the love that they have for you can be seen in their smiles.  You have loved the idea of being a big sister, and you take this title seriously. Far more so than I thought you would, and it makes me so proud.

    Zoey and David

    That is the thing that is the most important for you to know Zoey.

    You make me so damn proud. In all that you do, with all that you have been through, and all that you are going through, you are resilient. You are one to follow your heart, but you listen to your brilliant mind along the way. You are beautiful. My sweet daughter, I will never grow tired of reminding you of how beautiful you are.

    It is going to be an amazing adventure to watch you as you continue to grow, to see the woman that you will become. I do think that we get glimpses into this future you from time to time. But today, you are five. An age filled with exploration, learning, and fun. Just do not grow up so fast my little one. I will continue to do all I can to let you be a kid. To fight on your behalf. Using my deep and resounding voice to speak up for you. All while you hold onto my finger the same way you did when you were but a day old.

    Zoey and her nails

    Happy Birthday my sweet Zoey. May you continue to live big, love bigger and be kind, always.

    Love,

    Dad

    Dance in the Storm: A tale of how Fatherhood is changing

    I spent the better part of the night before I left to attend Dad 2.0 Summit filled with excitement. My son and daughter gleefully put on music and took my hands so we could dance.  Filling my soul with all the joy and laughter that it could take.  I knew that I needed it to sustain me. How could I justify flying across the country, leaving my wife and three kids (all under the age of five), to go to a conference that talks about being a good dad? My hope was that it would be found in these moments pre-flight.

    With a final kiss goodbye, I slid the door closed and walked into the airport. It only took two steps for me to physically feel that my heart was not with me.  Behind me, in that minivan, the one with the three crying children and teary-eyed wife, that is where my heart was.  As excited as I was to be heading to Dad 2, I felt empty and alone as I walked through the airport. Something was lacking. Stressful as it may be to travel with kids, I missed having to chase them down. Usually I would be focused on my kids as we waited in the endless TSA line. Instead, I stood there, alone. I missed it so much, that it angered me. I felt a fiery heat rise in the void that was created when my heart was left in that van.

    “Real fatherhood means love and commitment and sacrifice and a willingness to share responsibility and not walking away from one’s children.” – William Bennet

    All of it, all the angst and torment, was directed at myself. Angry for getting on this plane. Torment because I missed my kids. But, woefully I moved on.  I thought of the excitement that lay before me. I was going to be surrounded by other dads talking about what they have experienced, and what they are working through, as dads. This summit is a chance to have open, honest, raw and vulnerable conversations about the thing that we all love more than life itself, being a dad. There is much laughter, joking, and even crying about some of the things that we have gone through. There is so much acceptance and support for every single dad there.  It is kind of beautiful actually.

    Over the last five years I have discussed the state of fatherhood. I have written about some of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. I have written with raw and visceral emotion about every time that my daughter has had a surgery.  Pouring out the feelings and encapsulating the moments while waiting for a team of surgeons to open her skull, re-shape it, and put it back together like a jigsaw puzzle. I have expressed every question, fear, and worry as many dad’s do not.  Open and exposed for the world to see.

    On the other side of things, I have written about the things that have brought so much more joy than I thought possible into my life. Taking every single milestone and event as viewed through the eyes of a proud father. My pride being a banner for the world to see, and a model for my children to learn. Never shy of showing my joy for these things. Yet again, standing on the outside of ‘normal’ fatherhood.  Unashamed of showing my feelings for my amazing kids.

    The same amazing kids that I just walked away from.

    The void which my heart left in its wake, quivers with sorrow as I board the plane. I miss them. My God do I miss them.  Holding onto the memories of the dance gives me peace.

    Why do I do this? Looking at my stats, usually with a stiff drink in hand, I can tell that my prolific writing is not just for solace, or confirmation. My reach is far narrower than many of the people that I will meet at this conference. I wonder how many know of the endless nights that I spend working though self-doubt, and creative enlightenment in ways to expand my reach. Of the countless drafts and plans that I have worked through in an effort to better tell this amazing story of my journey through fatherhood.  Then I wonder that if they did know these things, would it matter?

    In my last five years of being a dad I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by some prolific storytellers, who just happen to have kids. They write and shoot videos, often tongue-in-cheek, about their adventures into this great unknown we call parenting. They do not dance around the difficult topics. Instead, they face them head on.  They have been some of my best teachers, and dearest friends, as I have pushed myself to write more, do more, show more.

    As the summit carried on, one thing resounded in the general buzz of the atmosphere.  With all the ideas and accolades, there was the same sorrowful voice about how much we missed out kids. I held fast to those memories of my kids and I dancing, without a care in the world. Those memories that I crammed into my soul before leaving.  In a flash, something begin to happen. Over the crowd I could hear the music wafting through the air, mixing with the distant sounds of my children’s laughter.

    It was so surreal.  I could feel the carpet under my feet and the hands of my children in mine.  I could feel my body wanting to dance with them, as though they were there.  In this moment, it hit me. There was something that says more about the current state of fatherhood then I thought real. There is something about this dance that is now screaming as an epic moment of realization. So, I do what I have done for five years and I write.  I glide my lyrical brush across time and space to make sense of it all.  Removing layer after layer of dust to uncover something for all of us to see.

    The very moment that someone becomes a dad their lives are changed forever. The act of entering fatherhood means that our lives are sent careening down a torrent path filled with the ominous unknown. The twists, turns, rises and falls are consumed with moments of fear, doubt, joy and often moments so hilarious that we can do nothing but laugh. We have to make decisions very early on that forever alter our children’s lives. Ironically is a decision that most of us make absentmindedly.

    Holding onto my children’s hands as we dance in the living room, something was happening. As I replayed the moment over and over again in my head, I began to see.  This moment has something hidden deep in the steps, the motion, the dance itself.  Tightly wound like my son’s hand on a Popsicle stick, or my daughter’s on a piece of chocolate, so tight that you cannot see it, and surely it would break.

    In a flash, it becomes clear.  Brilliant like the sun on a summer’s day. Bright like the full moons reflection upon a still pond. This thing buried deep with the dance all centers on a single decision that we all make at that very moment we become dads. A decision that shows the importance of fatherhood as a whole, but also how the idea of fatherhood has changed.  The simple act of dancing with my children exposes a question that many do not even know they answer.

    How do we raise our children to be better people then we are?

    As dads, we have the obligation, not the choice, of making a decision on how to raise our children. We can raise them in such a way that forces them to fit into a mold that, in-turn, fits into our lifestyle or point of view. We could constrain them to the perfect little thoughts and dreams that we have had for them since we found out that they were on the way. Society, and all of its morals and ideals could crash into our voices, masking reason with what society feels is right and good. Or, we can get uncomfortable with the unknown, and let our children become who they want to be.

    Our decision, and my choice.

    As for my wife and I, we could raise our children by any of these ideals. Instead we raise our children with the motto: live big, love bigger, and be kind, always. This means that we place value in living with honor, choosing to love, and the importance of being kind. To me it doesn’t matter who my kids might grow up to be. I just want them to grow up, slowly, and be happy with who they become. I have learned that it should not matter who they want to be. What does matter is that I exhaust all efforts for them.  That I let them explore this crazy world around them. Ensuring that they find what makes them happy. Above all else, encouraging them to go after what makes them happy.

    What matters is it that I cheer them on in every possible endeavor. To do this not just from the sidelines, but right there with them. That it is more important to cast aside my ideals, and help them explode onto this world, and leave a mark that THEY are happy with, not the mark that I hope they make. To show them that inclusivity STARTS at home, at our dining room table. That love and respect is a requirement, not some gracious thing they should do.

    Fatherhood In Practicality…

    There’s something awesome about being a dad. You must force yourself to take a step back from it all. Look past the unknown and see the brilliance and beauty behind it. If you let yourself just being your children’s cheerleader, their champion, and their springboard, there’s so much greatness that you have the ability to witness. There will be times when things don’t go their way, and all you have to do is be there for them. They will be things that they want to do that do not even remotely fit your mold.

    I’ve been watching my oldest son over the last couple of days and I see something that would terrify most. He would make one damn good ballet dancer. Looking back, not too far, I would find myself doing a plethora of things.  Spend evenings outside with him tossing the football with him in hopes of him becoming a defensive end like his father.  Enrolling him in sports, wood-shop, welding and other things to entice the engineer side that I have seen in him.  Excite him with Lego’s and building sets to have his mind shift to constructive creativity.  However, fatherhood has changed. I have gleaned so much from my dad, as well as the other dads at the Dad 2 summit.

    Instead of doing those things, what is it that I do?

    I dance with him.

    And he loves it.

    Perhaps even more than I do.

     

    Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always

    36 Days!

    Though there are plenty of other things that I could talk about with their only being 36 days left until our due date… I wanted to take some time to say something about my amazing wife.  One thing that holds true is that through love, marriage, and loving God, there WILL still be storms.  I have been fortunate enough to have an awesome companion to weather them with.  One thing that we both seem to realize is that when one of us is stressed, tired, worn out, depressed, exhausted or any of the host of ‘good times’ that we all go through as people from time to time, the other tends to pick up the slack and hold the sails true.  So, in honor of there being 36 amazing says left before we face this storm… this perfect and beautiful storm… I want to dedicate William Shakespeare’s 36th Sonnet to my love, my lady and my wife (which you can read her blog at waiting4rufus.tumblr.com).

     

    “Let me confess that we two must be twain,
    Although our undivided loves are one:
    So shall those blots that do with me remain
    Without thy help by me be borne alone.
    In our two loves there is but one respect,
    Though in our lives a separable spite,
    Which though it alter not love’s sole effect,
    Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love’s delight.
    I may not evermore acknowledge thee,
    Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,
    Nor thou with public kindness honour me,
    Unless thou take that honour from thy name:
       But do not so; I love thee in such sort
       As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.”

     

    I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and real men show their undying love in public ways… after all…. She is worth it.

    37 Days!!!! Where the heck has the time gone?????

    I know that I have not posted in awhile, things have been a little crazier than normal for me as of late.  I will pick up where I left off with the long post soon.  However, we just realized that we have 37 days left until the due date.  Arghhhhh! Where has the time gone.  We blew past the 40 day mark that we were looking at.  One of the tumblrs that I follow very closely (teddybeardaddy) has been much more on top of blogging on their daily countdown, as well as a couple of friends that I work with finding out that they are going to be fathers in time, I am compelled to do what I can to talk about all that I going on while we anxiously await our daughters arrival. 

    So, here we stand, the storm that I have been cautiously observing is about to reach my shores.    I am constantly finding myself running through checklists.  What do we have done, what still needs to be done, what am I forgetting.  All in all there is still one thought that resounds at the top of all my excitement and woes.  Ladies and gentlemen, I AM GOING TO BE A DAD!  Before I know it I will be holding my little one in my arms.  Her life, in my hands.  To shape, to protect, to nurture, to love, all of this and more.  I have dreams of holding my little girl in my arms, feeling her sleep on my chest, watching her explore the world that wants to consume her, and doing my best to not let her become consumed.  I AM SCARED OUT OF MY MIND!  It is insane to consider the responsibility that we are about to take on.  So much to be concerned with, things not to say, things not to do, being a man about things and still soft enough to be a damn good father.  That little girl represents so much for my life, and already means the world to my wife and I.  AND THERE IS LOVE.  One thing that cannot be denied as I stare at this storm is the breathtaking beauty of it.  I do not stare down this storm in defiance, I am realizing that I am entranced with the movement, the force, the power.  I will face the next 37(ish) days head on, strong, firm footed… and continue to prepare.  I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind… and I can see with 37 days left… there is love.

    Anniversary

    We are coming up on our one year anniversary, my wife and I.  It is amazing how much our lives have changed (ummm, hopefully for the better?!?!) in just the last 12 months.  I just wanted to take a moment to tell my wife, in a very public way, that:

    Darling, I love you more now than on the day we met, then on the day we said “I DO”, and even more than on the day you said “I’m pregnant”.  You are an effervescent, driving, joyful, beautiful and amazing force in my life. With each passing day I STILL find a new reason to love you.  It has been one heck of a year… I love you… and I will see you when I get home.

    I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and it takes a man to be a father… one who is not ashamed of the heartfelt love that he has for his wife.

    p.s. Darling, I already pulled to wedding cake topper out of the freezer… this should be interesting.

    Teamwork

    I still find myself confused.  I have noticed an interesting trend with some of the people that I work with.  When I first started voicing my idea that it takes a MAN to be a father, not a boy to be a dad, there seemed to be a considerable about of push-back from the women in the office.  Most significantly the single women without kids.  My battle cry was picked up by a few of the guys and the rest… eh, it is work.  Now, it is being brought to my attention that the voice of the other men have fallen off, the single girls are turning a ear and looking for guys with some of the traits that I have discussed and I am still left with a social obstacle… single mothers.  Now, as I have said before, and I will say again, and again, and again, my heart goes out to the single mom’s.  in MOST of the cases, it was a scenario where it was a boy becoming a dad, not a man trying to be a father.  These women deserve our love, compassion and support.  They are doing their very best to fulfill BOTH roles for their children.  That being said, I am still proud of the fact that my wife is going to be a stay at home mom.  That she is going to be able to dedicate most of her time to taking care of our child, and let me worry about the income.  It is what she wants, and it is what I am going to work my butt of to try to make happen.  As crazy as it may sound, I am looking forward to the days that I get to come home after a long day at the office and take over the child care and let my wife take a break.  You see, men, something that we can never forget about the mothers of our children…. Parenting is a FULL TIME JOB.  While we are at the office, they are not getting to take a break.  In many ways, it is FAR MORE work than we do, it is exhausting, it is tiring, it is stressful. As I further my definition of a man I will have to include the fact that on most days a man whom is trying to be a good father and a good spouse, will come home and take over for a little bit.  You see, the neat thing about doing this is that there are so many levels of awesomeness that come from it.  You get to come home from work and spend time with your kids! Even if it is jut holding your infant and listening to your wife’s day, NONE OF YOU will forget that time.  Holding that precious little life so close to your heart, feeling their hands grasping, the funny and amazing noises… what a way to end your day of work.  There is also the aspect of taking care of your wife.  As stated, they are working their butts off.  By being willing to come home, take care of the baby and give them the first break that they have had all day, brownie points.  That… and a happy wife makes for a happy home.   Granted, I cannot speak from experience yet, but I am fairly certain that the little ones will cherish this time as they get older, perhaps more than you do.  I think back to when my dad would get home from work.  Within minutes it was either dinner… or we had family time.  Playing catch, going for walks, telling my day about all the excitement of my day, and listening as my brothers did the same.  These memories may have something to do with my standpoint on this.  It will be interesting to see how this post goes down at the water cooler tomorrow.  I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind and my wife will be working hard to be a mom… I should acknowledge the effort by working hard to be a man.

    Late night overdue papers…

    This is an excerpt from a paper that I just finished for one of my classes this semester.  As I face this pending fatherhood I often find myself turning to my faith for answers.  Though they may not be the answers for some out there, the point contained in this small portion of my paper is deep and somehow gives me some strength.

    There seems to be something wrong with having an all knowing, all loving, ever present God and there being evil around us.  The acts of evil that we see (be them moral or natural) would seemingly negate what we are told of God, or do they?  One could look at a few individual verses pertaining to God’s wrath, but what I prefer to do is take a look at the collection of all the works.  As we read through the old testament we come across stories of whole tribes being swallowed up in the earth (Num 16:32-35), armies being destroyed by the sea closing in on them (Exo 14:26-28), cities being leveled by burning sulfur (Gen 19: 24-25) , that little thing involving that guy Noah (Gen 6-9), and so much more.  Much like a FATHER, God loves us, but there is a time for compassion and a time for discipline.  When our fathers ground us, spank us, or take away our toys because we are being unruly little brats, do we think, even for a moment, that our father might not love us? Sure we do.  A better question is, does our father, in this instance, truly still love us?  Is there a chance that we are just so caught up in the selfish emotions that we cannot see the love that our father has for us?  I feel that it is a case of selfishness and fear that we cannot see the love that is there. We are called to be a reflection of God with our love upon or children, the same could be said about the pain and suffering that we see in this world  Remember, God promised to love us and asked that we love Him, but He NEVER said it would be easy.

    I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and it is interesting where we can find strength.