Thursday, November 14, 2013

Echoing my Father

Hi boys. I missed you both today. I didn't get to spend any time with either of you. Not only was I at work, but I went to sit by my Dad / your Papaw's bedside in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. He was not well today, and will be in the hospital for a few days, but should be okay.

It was very meaningful to me to get to be with my Dad today. He was restless in bed, and drifted in and out of sleep. When he would wake, he would look at me and talk to me, and then go back to sleep. Awake and asleep, for the two hours that I was there. I talked to him when he was awake. Here are some of the things that he said.

- He said "Randy Lynn, look at you. What a man you have become!"

- He said "I love you, I love you, I love you, with all of my heart and soul."

- He sang "I love Jesus, and Jesus loves me."

- He said "May God bless you for your whole life.

- He said "What a gift it is to have children."

He said or sang all of those things to me in that short time today, and I was very moved. He is such a good man, and a caring man, and I love him very much.

And in the moments that he slept fitfully, my thoughts turned to you two boys. And I want to echo my father's thoughts:

What a gift it is to get to be your father, and to have the privilege of raising you.

May God bless you each for your whole life.

I want you to know that I love Jesus and, this I know, Jesus loves me.

I love you, I love you, I love you with all of my heart and soul - as I love my wife and your mother.

What men you are becoming. Let's finish the journey together of you becoming men in your own right.

What a blessing is this thing called life.

I am praying for you this week. Live life.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

God Sent You Help

Hi boys.

As I've watched the Illinois River swell and overflow this Spring, flooding our area, I am reminded of the old joke that goes like this:

A man was stranded in his house as the area flooded, and had to climb up on his roof to be safe.

On Monday, a man came by in a canoe and said hop in, I have an extra seat. The man said "No thanks, God will save me."

On Tuesday, a group came by in a rowboat and said hop in, we can take you to safety. The man said "No thanks, God will save me."

On Wednesday, the Coast Guard came by in a big cutter and said get in and we'll take you to safety. Again, the man said "No thanks, God will save me."

On Thursday, the man drowned!

When he got to Heaven he was mad at God. "God, I trusted you! Why didn't you save me!"

God said: "What did you want? I sent you a canoe, and a rowboat, and the Coast Guard!"

That's a funny story. And very true in our lives often.

I know we go through tough times as a family.

I know that you go through tough times as young men growing up with the issues that we have. I know that you sometimes wonder why God doesn't help you.

I want you to know this:

God sent you Mom and Dad. We are here for you. We love you more than any people on the planet do, and we do our best to help you - every day.

God sent you your expanded family, too. Aunts and uncles and cousins. They all care about you.

God sent you your church family. Pastors and teachers and classmates.

God sent you your teachers. They want the best for your education.

Look around you. See the resources that God has provided for you. Please recognize that God has provided for you. The man in the joke didn't, and he drowned!

Mom and I are praying for both of you, every day. We want the best for your lives, whatever your lives hold in front of you.

Please pray too.

Have a blessed week.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sing Your Songs

Hi Boys.

Do you know what I saw today on my drive home from work? Green stuff. Spring is here! I've been looking at brown grass and brown dirt and brown riverbanks for so many months now, which is very uninteresting for a shutterbug like me. But green! Soon more colors will pop, and my senses will come alive and I'll "see" pictures everywhere...

That's my thing - photography. It's not necessarily your thing, and it doesn't have to be. I'm happy as I watch you find your hobbies and passions whatever they turn out to be. I'm happy to watch an artist come of age and do amazing things with a pencil and a drawing pad. Or an origami artist who can make amazing shapes with a piece of paper or a dollar bill.

One of my favorite quotes from famous people is this one from a writer named Henry David Thoreau, who said:

"Most people live lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them."

That may not make sense or mean much to you at your young age. I understand. What he means is this: not everyone lives as big of a life as we want to. We want to be famous, or rich, or popular. We want to do big things. We want to express ourselves on a big stage - to sing our song! And we rarely get a chance to.

At least it seems that way sometimes. We live our routine lives. We go to school. We go to church. We go to work. Routine things - not the big fancy lives.

That has meaning by itself. Your grandpa and your papaw are not famous men. Did they have big dreams? Maybe? I don't know if they sang "their song" that was in them, but they lived lives that had a profound effect on a lot of people. When I go around town and people ask me "Was your Dad a teacher?", I know I am talking to someone whose life was affected by my Dad's life. It's the same with your grandpa, who helped many many people at work and at church and at a Rescue Mission. Their service to others was their song.

You know that I've known Mom for a very long time. I know that she has many talents, and had more hobbies - like singing in the choir in high school and at church. That was her expressing herself, and getting her song out - literally! I'm so glad that in the last few years she has discovered that she loves to paint!

She needs that time away from taking care of you, which she does so very well, to take care of herself. To feed her soul. To be creative in her own way. Let's all three make sure that she gets time to sing her song through painting.

What is my song, that I want to get out? How do I want to express myself? Through my photography, absolutely. That is fulfilling. My pictures are my view of the world around me. Publishing them on my website - whether anyone sees them or not - is my song. Writing is too, but it's a song still in me.

You both know that I was sad last week when my friend Roger died. You know that I spent a lot of time writing comments on his website. Time that I now wish I had been writing letters to you here instead! I enjoyed the conversations with my friend so much. We disagreed a lot, yes, but we had a friendship anyway. We wrestled with a lot of big issues, and that debate helped me get my song out as well.

One thing that my friend Roger and I disagreed on was about how we see God. My friend grew up in a church, but lost his faith in God as he grew older. He did for many reasons, but mostly he said it was because his understanding of Evolution made him doubt God. That happens a lot. People mistake understanding the How and When of our creation with the Who and Why of our Creator, and they decide that the don't need God in their explanation of life. They say I respect the church, but I "cannot believe in God".

That makes me sad. I want you to know that I have thought about this question a lot over my lifetime. I have studied our faith. I have studied science - which I respect greatly. I have chosen our faith on purpose at the end of all of that study. I believe in the story of the Easter Passion Play that we watched together last week. What a story! Wow. Remember that play, and stand strong in your faith.

I want you to grow, and to learn, and to question, and to study. I know there will doubt at times in what we believe, and that's okay. Ask me questions - I can guide you through those times.

I want you both to have fulfilling lives. To be educated. To find fulfilling work and to find a suitable mate. I want you play guitar and draw pictures and go fishing! I want you to be kind to each other and to serve others as you can. I want you to have great friendships, like I had with my friend Roger and the friends that I met through him. I want you to sing your songs all of your lives, and not take them to the grave.

What is my song, really? It's helping you both, and Mom, to sing your songs. That makes me happy.

Be at peace with life. Do what we have to do and need to do, first. But, sing your song this week.

I'll be taking pictures of green stuff...