Here’s to All the Human Dads

I feel I must include the word “human,” not as a way to differentiate from other members of the animal kingdom, but as a way to distance ourselves from our own narcissistic expectations of superheroism. All human dads are just that, human; imperfect, fallen, sinful, messed up.

Frankly, I think everyone is too hard on human dads. I guess it’s easy for me to say, since I am one. But really, nearly every time you turn on the TV all you see are dads being portrayed as the doofus, the villain or the butt of the joke.

But not only does our popular culture like to belittle dads, I see the church doing the same or worse. While the media likes to make fun of dads, the church seems to get off on shaming them. If you don’t believe me, go to church on Fathers day. Often you’ll hear shame-filled sermons masquerading as pep talks for dad’s to “step it up.”

Yes, I know dads all have room for improvement and it’s important for us to be challenged. But challenging us is not the same thing as shaming us. We are all human men who cannot live up to the high biblical standards 24/7. We are not perfect. We are forgiven.

We are men who struggle balancing our time between marriage, family, career and church. We get it wrong much of the time. We feel the pressure and tension of trying to provide for our family financially while also giving our time and our selves emotionally. We struggle with our friendships and our relationships. Most of us don’t really have close friendships. We feel isolated. That isolation can trigger temptations in our lives. We find ourselves tempted with lust, greed and power. We fall into temptations that bring us more shame and cause us to isolate ourselves even more.

So, if all we are going to get at church is a big heaping dose of shame, why bother? We’re good at shaming ourselves; we don’t need any assistance in that department.

So, here’s to all the human dads out there. I want you to know that God loves you just as you are. He sees your crap and loves you anyway. He knows you’re not perfect, but he thinks you’re priceless. He sent his Son to pay the price because he knew you couldn’t keep from breaking the law over and over again. My challenge for all human dads is that we reject the shame and embrace the grace, freely given by the only true Perfect Dad.

Happy Human Fathers Day!

Gratitude: Black and White

Life would be so much simpler if everything was black and white;

Like reruns from the 50’s; Lucy, Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best.

But life doesn’t happen in black and white;

It is filmed in Technicolor before a live studio audience.

 

While some things are black and white, agreed upon do’s and don’ts;

Other things in life don’t fit so neatly into our embedded categories.

Life doesn’t always fit into well-organized systems.

Cause and effects aren’t always consistent.

 

We must often make room for a blending of the black and white;

But rarely is gray listed as someone’s favorite color.

Gray appears drab and old, like a communist’s uniform,

Or an old white t-shirt washed too many times with the colors.

 

But we are often called to accept the gray in life,

Like the strands of hair stripped of youthful color.

But I have realized that if you add reflection and light into it,

Drab gray is beautifully transformed to radiating silver.

 

I thank you God, Creator of Light

For allowing us to reflect your light into a vast spectrum of color.

It is in and through your Eternal Light

That we discover the brilliant jewels and precious ore of life.

Gratitude: Purple

Sweet grape jelly on warm buttered toast,

Eggplant Parmesan, a food I like most,

Mom’s purple cabbage served once a year.

These are the purple foods that make me cheer.

 

A big, audacious purple bruise

From a fight that I didn’t lose,

A badge of honor to my name,

As a young boy, it would bring me fame.

 

Singing “purple people eaters” just for fun,

Making those around us want to run.

Dancing to Prince’s “Purple Rain”

People wondering if we were insane.

 

Cheering for the purple and gold

At NKC High, it never got old.

Giving purple flowers to my new love;

I knew she was a gift from above.

 

These purple memories from my past,

Remembered with gratitude that will last.

Another color in the rainbow,

An inspiration for love to grow.

 

But none of this would have really mattered,

If it hadn’t been for the bruised and battered;

Who loved our country from the start;

Returning home with a purple heart.

 

 

 

Gratitude: Orange

Who takes orange so serious?

Orange is all about fun.

Except for traffic cones, I suppose.

But wouldn’t it be fun to hit one?

 

I believe that if everyone wore orange,

No one would take themselves serious.

Talking with a man in a bright orange suit,

Would simply make me delirious.

 

Oranges are orange, and yes, they’re nutritious;

But oranges are also quite fun.

Oranges squirt and squirting is funny.

So’s an orange peel grin, big as the sun.

 

Circus peanuts and orange candy slices;

Orange colored candy is fun.

Orange popsicles and creamsicles rule,

But orange soda pop’s number one.

 

Pumpkins are all the rage in the Fall,

So is playing in orange crinkly leaves.

Kids named Rusty with freckles and orange hair,

Who doesn’t smile at these?

 

Everyone loves Nemo, the lost orange fish,

And Pooh’s orange friend named Tigger.

Which reminds me of the fun we all would have

If the zoo tiger exhibit were bigger.

 

Last, but not least are orange cheese curls,

The snack that just keeps on giving,

There’s just no way to eat them all up

Without some orange finger-licking.

 

Thank you, God for orange.

Gratitude: Red

Big red tricycle, first taste of freedom;

Cruising down Heinz Road, running cars into ditches.

Freedom demands my caution;

Lesson learned the hard way.

 

Grandma’s old red wagon, thrills down the hill;

Hitch it, crash it, Grandma’s wagon bites the dust.

Fun requires my responsibility.

Lesson learned slowly.

 

Red door on Fayette Street, experience first true love;

Sally in a red dress, her heart in my hand.

Love invites my tenderness.

Lesson learned together.

 

Red flows from open wounds, staining the ground below;

Covering all of our lessons hard learned.

Sacrifice deletes my shame.

Lesson learned with gratitude.

 

Red is the color of true Love.

Gratitude: Blue

Gaze into the blue eyes of love.

As blue oceans reflect the heavens,

So are these eyes a reflection of eternity.

 

“Blue skies, smilin’ at me.”

A reminder to celebrate Love.

An invitation to a party.

 

But when the party’s over,

When blue eyes have betrayed,

Blue changes her reflective color.

 

“My momma done told me,”

Yes, I had been warned;

But I must sing my own blue song.

 

The blues of the singers,

A haunting beauty all its own,

Turning suffering into song.

 

Thank you Great Composer

Maker of blue sky, ocean and song;

A dim reflection of a great eternal party.

Gratitude: Yellow

I am grateful for waffles, cooked golden, topped with bright yellow butter;

Melting and mingling with warm maple syrup;

Running over crispy grid of nook and cranny.

Waffle-love is a generational blessing.

 

Atop our refrigerator sits a bright yellow waffle maker.

This is not your grandma’s waffle iron from years past.

This one creates waffles shaped as circus animals;

Lions, monkeys and giraffe.

 

This is Kaden’s grandma’s waffle maker.

Grandma Sally makes more than waffles,

She makes memories.

Another generation of waffle-love.

 

Yesterday was cold and misty; today a big yellow ball hangs in blue sky,

Casting spotlight and shadow, filtered through shimmering trees.

They dance in worship to their Creator God.

Remnant clouds take turns playing peek-a-boo with the sun.

 

Yellow-haired children make their way to the pool.

Moms gently warn them to look both ways crossing the street.

I sip lemonade on the front porch and dream of grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thank you, God, for yellow.