I have wanted to post several times over the last few weeks, but did not do it for one reason or another. There has been so much going on, and so many things to write about. But it seems like it is never the right time. If you want to write about big important things, like the devastation on the Gulf Coast or the loss of a friend - it just seems so minimal and cheap. If you go the other way and write about sports or something it seems like you are shallow and insensitive. So I haven't done squat. So, instead, I'll write about my bud.
Yesterday was my son's fourth birthday. Wow. Four years old. And he is starting to look like such a little boy instead of a baby. He's getting tall and starting to fill out a little in his face and torso. Actually, he is a very muscular kid. He's just growing up so fast. He talks about Jesus and about planets (all the time) and carries on conversations with you. It is fun to take him with you to the store because he just chatters on about everything and talks to everybody. He's so smart that it is crazy. He memorizes books and videos and can recite an entire 45 minutes DVD on planets to you on request. He remembers things from 12-18 months ago that I have trouble recalling. He's just awesome.
That's the thing about having a kid - they are so wonderful. I love both of my kids. They are completely different, but alike. Their faces have gotten so similar. One of them can be so goofy and silly while the other will be very serious. Then they will switch places and one will be bouncing off the walls while the other will be intently reading or watching tv for an hour. They are fun - the biggest blessings in our lives.
My boy has always found his life marked by the horrors all around him. He was born at 2:11am on September 12, 2001. Heather was in labor all day with him on September 11. Soon after the doctor gave her the medicine to induce labor, a nurse came in and told us we may want to turn on the television. For the rest of the morning, while we were trying to help this new life into the world, we saw the world falling apart. Finally, we turned off the tv because it was too much to take on that day. But we had something so many others did not. We had this child coming, and with that we had joy. In the midst of the sadness there was a the promise of this bundle to make our lives better.
Everyone who was a part of our lives during that period has a different take on September 11. They were not just overwhelmed by the pain all around, but they were also anticipating this new arrival. He was bringing hope to all of them. We had family friends who showed up at the hospital at 11pm to be there for the delivery because their other option was to stay home and be assaulted by the images of New York and DC. When he was born, all that other stuff melted away and we just stared at him.
On his fourth birthday, we were again looking in horror at the television at images from New Orleans. We had gone to my mom's house a week before his big day to celebrate with her. While there, we attended a funeral for a precious 23 year old friend, tried to help a family of dear friends who had lost everything in the hurricane, and talked with another couple who had also lost everything. We also were dealing with unexpected scheduling snafus, unpleasant extended family issues, and unfulfilled career plans. But all of that could be swept away when our boy ran in and said, "I'm gonna be four!" He brings joy. And he reminds us that God is faithful and that He gives us good gifts.
Our boy is a great gift. He had such a good birthday - got planets galore and got loved on all over the place. We were just thrilled - it was his first "big boy" birthday where he really understood what was going on. It just has filled us all with warmth. We have always said that we don't feel like we deserve him. He's just too special. Everyone who knows him loves him - he has had more of an impact on people than anyone I've known (except his sister).
Our boy's name is Josiah. The meaning varies from place to place. Some say that it means "Jehovah supports" others "Jehovah heals" and other say "Fire of the Lord." I think they all are appropriate. We knew we would name our first son Josiah before we were ever married, just like our first daughter would be Natalie [Christmas baby - and yes, she was born December 22]. I think it was something God wanted us to call him because it fit him - and because it was a constant reminder of some truths about God.
First, Jehovah supports. He supports those dear friends of ours who lost everything - providing them money and clothes and more. Even though they lost so much, they never lost focus on God. And they knew He would take care of them - and He has.
Second, Jehovah heals. That sweet young friend who passed away left a husband of three months. Three months?!? After waiting and being faithful his whole life and finally getting his wife, he loses her in three months? But when I talked to him, I realized that God had already begun to heal his heart.
Third, be a fire of God. I cannot sit by and just wait for doors to fling open. God has called me (and you) to a particular mission. And I need to follow Him with a reckless abandon - tossing aside whatever will not help me in that mission.
So, my bud, thanks for being such a sweet child and such a joy to have as my boy. And thank you for pushing me to be a better man for you and your sister. Thanks for reminding me what is important - and what is eternal. And thanks for continually pointing me to my Father for the love and support I need so that I can be a good father to you. Happy birthday, my little boy. I love you.