You Never Talk to Me Anymore

I’m not sure why I even have my own website. I never post to it. I hardly ever update it. No one really ever visits it. But I have one. I keep it updated so that I will have a place for my email. Because I own my own domain, I also own my own email. Yes, it needs to be hosted somewhere, but it is mine and can’t be taken away.

One of the other things that I have realized is that it also can’t outlive me by much.

Because my website and my email are owned (and controlled) by me, they can only survive if I pay the annual bills associated with it. That means that – at some point after I die – someone will either need to assume the billing or let the service simply be deleted.

There is something oddly comforting about that.

I am a pastor and a person that has been preaching sustainability in both my personal and professional lives for quite some time now. I believe that the idea of true sustainability goes against our human nature as we simply cannot think on such grand terms as sustaining something forever. Even when we think about time and space, we talk about the “beginning of the universe” or the “end of time”. True sustainability is outside of our comprehension. (And, to be honest, I also believe that the place where we should be concentrating our efforts at sustainability is in the present moment – not in some future that has yet to be created.)

So, when I consider sustainability in terms that we can understand, it comes down to leaving as little a footprint as possible. Sustainability has something to do with burdening others. The less we burden others with the choices that we make, the more sustainable that choice, activity, or structure will be.

Think about it —

Right now as a church, we are using countless dollars and human resources to sustain buildings and structures that do not fit the needs of today. But anything that we attempt to build in any permanent way will only lead to future generations looking back at us and asking the same questions that we are asking of the generations that preceded us. Building structures and systems that are flexible and possibly even temporary will allow future users the options necessary to meet the needs of their time.

Or —

If I purchase a house, car, plot of land, or anything else that outpaces my true needs now or in the immediate future, then I will spend a lot of my time and resources (physical, emotional, and spiritual) attempting to keep that thing going. For instance, if my car payment and cost of upkeep costs me 20% of what I make in a month, then I am spending one out of every five hours working to simply sustain my ability to get to and from work. We build entire buildings simply to house the things that we use to travel from place to place. That’s not a sustainable model.

We have made the world so complex that we have decided that it requires at least 12 years of formal schooling to simply exist in our manmade culture. Formal schooling doesn’t teach us anything (or very few things) that would help us if we were to be left alone in the wilderness. Most everything that we are taught simply helps us to navigate the institutions that we have created.

There is so much more to say, and I may even start to use this space to say it.

And if I do, I know that eventually my words will eventually be erased… because they simply don’t matter that much… and because eventually, no one will pay the bill.

Summer is Over

Now that summer is fully over here in OOB (meaning – after Columbus Day), it’s time to get back to life in the off season. Bekah and Caleb are now both in high school. Izzie has started her first year of nursery school. Robyn is taking another year off – but is planning to go back in a year or two to finish her bachelor’s degree.

And me? I am back in school, too. This time, I am going to Southern Maine Community College and will be studying for my associate’s degree in business administration. I have only one class this semester, Structured Programming. I will be hopefully be learning how to do some programming in java. It should be a lot of fun.

One difficult development since the beginning of September is that Robyn has had some complications with some minor surgery she had. She has been out of work for more than 6 weeks now and has been on medication to control the pain. It has been difficult. Hopefully we’ll get some answers as to what is happening soon and life will get back to some sense of normal.

Normal is, of course, a relative term.

Right now, normal would mean training our new puppy, Ellie. It would also mean continuing to rip out carpet in our home. Normal, it seems, is a lot of work.

I think I am looking forward to summer all ready.

It’s Been Awhile

I haven’t actually written a real post in – ahhh – well over two years.  That’s not good, and it needs to be rectified.

What has life been like? Way too much to say on that subject. But it has been a kick.

Let’s see… Izzie will be starting pre-school in a few weeks. Caleb will be a freshman. Bekah is finish driver’s education this week. (By the way, they are now living in Auburn.) Robyn is now a nurse. Oh, and I am going back to school.

We now have four cats, two gerbils, a bunch of fish, and a dog on the way.

We are also in the process of buying a house – this one – the parsonage.

So we’ve been busy.  Hence the lack of anything of any import going on to my website. I have been making the occasional snarky comment on Facebook, but that really doesn’t count now does it.

I guess I will post a bit more soon.

Friday Night Thoughts

Friday night. The baby is asleep. Robyn is out with friends. I’ve got Bob Marley on iTunes. (“No Woman, No Cry”… my favorite Bob Marley song.) I should be tired, but I’m not. My mind is all over the place tonight. I can’t seem to get my thoughts focused enough to actually get anything done. I’ll do pretty good for a day or two, but then it all falls apart again.

Next week I’ll be driving back and forth to the New England Annual Conference for the United Methodist Church. I’ve been invited to participate in the Ordination and Commissioning Service because I got my Local Pastor’s license this year. But I don’t think that I really want to go. It is a fairly long event, and they are holding it on Friday night after dinner. I think I just want to get on the road and drive, but I’ll see. You only get your license once, but it’s not like this is ordination. It’s a big deal, but I hate taking myself too seriously. It simply doesn’t mean much of anything to anyone outside of the people who will be in that room that night. And I’m not out to impress them.

I have to really try to figure out what I need to do this summer with the older kids. Bekah and Caleb need to have a good summer, but I am working a lot this summer. Maybe I need a new job. I don’t seem to be getting ahead at all. As a matter of fact, I just keep getting further and further behind. But Bekah and Caleb don’t care about that. They just want to see their Dad, and I really want to see them, too. The more time I spend with Izzie the more I understand just how much I have missed with them. I owe them more than a few hours out of the summer, but I can’t take the time off to be the kind of Dad that I want to be.

Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep tonight.

A Call to New York

I got a phone call from my mother today. She saw the kids in New York last weekend while she was there for a college graduation. She called on Sunday night to tell me something, but we never connected until tonight. She wanted to tell me that Caleb (my 10-year-old) told her that I didn’t like him because I avoid his phone calls.

It broke my heart.

I’m not the type that really likes phones. I actually avoid them like the plague. I love my email. Email can be answered at 2 AM in my underwear. Phone calls are done at inconvenient times. And right now, I have a lot of inconvenient times. So I am not avoiding Caleb (or Rebekah) on purpose, but I do generally avoid the phone. (They even called me at 10:30 AM on a Sunday… I was preaching… they know I have to preach…)

So I called them tonight. They were both doing fine. I talked to each of them for a few minutes. And when I talked to Caleb, I made sure that he knew that I loved him and that I missed him very much. The fact is that I do miss him (and his sister) very much. I hate the fact that they live there and I live here. I fight the guilt of having this great life with Robyn and Izzie while I am missing all of the great moments in their lives.

For instance, tonight Bekah had a concert for her choir. She is in a select chorus of hand-picked kids in her town. From what I have heard, she is pretty good. And all I want to do is hear her sing. I wish I could be part of their lives everyday, but that option has been taken away from me.

But I have to believe that this is all for the best. The fact is that I just want to be their father. I don’t want them to grow up and think that I don’t love them. I have no idea if it will all turn out okay, but I have to believe that it will be.

At least that’s my prayer every night.

Reflections from a Monday Morning Breakfast

The baby let me sleep in today. She got up at 5:15 again, but all I had to do was move her and put the pacifier in her mouth and she slept for almost another two hours. She finally got up at about 7:00 and had a big breakfast (for her) and a bottle. It was wonderful. More importantly, she was wonderful. The morning is so awesome with her. It is becoming our special time together.

The problem is that it reminds me sometimes of just how much I miss my other two kids. I spoke with the kids on the phone on Sunday afternoon. Neither one of them had much to say. They had just seen some of my family on Friday and Saturday, so we talked about that for a bit. But most of the time we spent talking was just for the sake of talking.

Being with Izzie everyday has reminded me of just how much I enjoy being a father and how much I miss having Bekah and Caleb in my life all of the time. I had gotten to a sense of ‘normalcy’ with them out of state over the past couple of years. But now, with a baby around all of the time, I have realized just how much I have missed.

So, today I feel a little bit sad for the things that I have missed. And I also feel a little hurt and angry at how I lost them. But I can’t stay sad for long. After all, it would be far sadder if I didn’t miss them at all.

So tonight I will go home to my wife and my littlest girl. I’ll give them both lots of hugs and kisses, and I’ll look at Izzie’s face and see hints of her older siblings in it. Then I’ll put her to bed and thank God that I have such a wonderful and caring family.

After all, having children is a huge gift and an even bigger responsibility… no matter how long you have them for.

Family Life

The baby is sleeping, but the damage has all ready been done. She woke me up at 5:15 this morning. As of right now, it is Sunday morning at 7:09. The baby has just fallen back to sleep, but I can’t. I have to get ready for Church soon. I don’t know what is up with her in the last couple of days. She has been waking up early, having a meal, and then going back to sleep. That isn’t a bad thing necessarily. It allows me to get her ready for the day and still gives Robyn a chance to rest in the morning, but she is getting up too early.

On another note, my mother and sister went to New York to watch my nephew’s fiancee graduate from college. While there, they went and got my other two children and spent some time seeing them. I need to call them this afternoon and see how everything went. Mom and Chris said they may be in Church this morning, but we will see. I wouldn’t blame them if they are not. That’s a lot of driving.

Robyn should be very tired today. She is just getting off a three-night stretch. She will have two nights off and then back for another three-night stretch. After all of that, she will be taking her final in Anatomy & Physiology II. For the next week or so, she will be a little stressed. I will need to make sure that things remain relatively calm until then. On the (very positive) plus side, she will be signing up for classes in the next few weeks for the fall semester. I am incredibly proud of her.

There’s is lots more to tell about family life, but I have to wait for the court order to be lifted…