I won’t keep you long today, but I wanted to share two thoughts with you. Being a parent sometimes isn’t easy. It can be stressful; while other days can be down right nuts-o. Even though it is one of the most rewarding things in life – having the responsibility to love, guide, support and parent a child – it’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of life and miss the moments that matter most.
Moments like tonight.
Usually I’m in a rush to get my lunch packed, coffee ready, and my water ‘rations’ together before I go in on my nightshift. I decided tonight however, to slow down a bit and enjoy some time with my children before I went to work. Since the children were outside all day, biking, playing in the backyard, no one had any attention span for stories. So after the normal teeth brushing and face washing was completed, I led my youngest child to his room. We plopped down in his rocking chair, and this is how it went…
I started singing:
As the deer, panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee. You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship Thee. You alone are my strength, my shield... "Dad...." "Yes, Isaac?" I asked.
“Do you have a moustache?”
I had just shaved yesterday.
“No, I don’t have a moustache. Lie back now and listen to the song.”
You alone are my strength, my shield, to you alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart's desire, and I long to worship you...
Isaac suddenly flipped over, laid himself across my legs and stuck his feet into the air, “Smell my feet!” He sniffed hard.
“Smell em’ Dad!”
“Isaac, man! They stink!”
“Yeah, I know.” he replied.
I continued on with the song as my son cuddled in close into my arms. After another verse, he started to perform his “Lynette and Molly” clock positions (a children’s show from the 90’s): first he threw his legs around, then waved his arms above my head, followed by rubbing his hands over my face (freshly washed hands now mind you). It was probably one of the least relaxed chair rocks with Isaac, however it was quite comical to watch him move every two seconds.
And you know what? I loved every minute of it. Having my youngest wrap his arms around me, snuggling his face into my neck – I can’t pass up those moments. If you’ve been reading my blog these past two years, you’d recall one of my first posts where I would spin my oldest sons airplane that was attached to his ceiling, and how I would continue to spin it over and over just because he liked it.
He doesn’t ask me to do that anymore. My son is growing up.
But I will always cherish those moments. I understand even better now, that I need to start making more memories with him; with all my children for that matter.
Slow down today. Take in those special moments. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, regardless if they haven’t called you, and let them know you care about them. Spend time with your child or grandchild. Embrace a loved one.
Time…time is too short. Life is too short.
Dispatching a Prayer
For those of you who don’t know, I work as a dispatcher for the police. I create files and dispatch calls all day long, ranging from minor to major instances. In this line of work, you are exposed to death and loss on a regular basis. Dispatchers engage with callers and obtain vital information while our police officers deal with the calls in person. My hat goes off to them, our police officers. Their courage, professionalism and resolve in some of the most disturbing and traumatizing scenes is truly amazing. The average citizen will never witness these types of scenes in their lifetime, while a police officer could witness it a couple of times a week.
As a dispatcher, we are usually the first point of contact for a person in need. We are often the first ones to receive that tragic call from a family member who just found their loved one deceased, or the serious motor vehicle collision with injuries – it can be very disturbing and mentally taxiing.
I believe this job has forced me to reflect on life, more often say, than someone who isn’t dealing with life and death on a daily basis. It just makes sense right? If you are selling cars, you read up on the latest vehicles and immerse yourself in it: you talk about it, you follow it, you think about it. In a strange way, I am immersed in this continuous cycle of death and life, and within that cycle nothing ever comes in the same on my phone, i.e. the category of the calls are similar but the details are always different.
With this reflection, I am forced, in fact I am thrown at the feet of Jesus for help. Like many operators who handle disturbing calls frequently, you need to have an outlet. I choose my faith in God as my outlet – He is my support and strength. Jesus said in the Bible,
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”Matthew 11:28
Throughout my seven years as a dispatcher, many times have I prayed and asked God to take the memories of certain calls – the details, the sounds, the words- into His hands and free me from its weight. It’s in those moments I am reminded of the other two verses from that same passage,
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”Matthew 11: 29-30
In no other faith will you find those words. A God who offers, not only take your burdens, but to take a yoke that is easy to bear and place it on your shoulders in exchange for yours. Can you picture it?
Depression. Sickness. Sorrow. Loneliness. Heartache. Addiction. Shame. Abuse. Mental Health Issues. Loss. Fear.
Jesus offers to replace your yoke: your burdens, the things in your life that you struggle with (whether you caused it or it happened to you by no fault of your own). He offers you rest from your struggles.
Wow friends, this is an encouraging word for anyone today.
If you feel trapped, or if you feel like you’re in a continuous cycle of dread or any of the burdens mentioned above, know this today: God sees you. He hears you when you call out to Him. And Jesus, God himself, promises to give you rest today.
God Bless You Today. Until next time.