Sunday morning our family woke up to shake the dust off of our sleep. As I prepared for church, our four-year-old daughter stumbled into my room, wiping the sleep from her eyes. “Daddy my tummy hurts.” A quick check of the forehead – she seemed to be running a temperature. Changing plans, my wife gathered the kids in front of the television as I whisked away to a rare occasion of church without children.
Throughout the day, running a fever as high as 102, we knew she’d be staying home from daycare Monday. As do many of my friends’ households, ours requires a dual income to stay afloat. We stared at our calendars on Sunday afternoon. Both of us having Monday morning meetings, we triage’d those. My wife’s being more critical and unique, she went to work in the morning. I was tasked with opening my job, setting a few instructions to the various crews, and heading back home in time for my wife to make her meeting.
I pulled back to the house at the appointed time. My wife had a few instructions for what medicine needed to be taken, what food and drink to be consumed. After breakfast, my daughter announced her intention to topple me in Candyland, which she promptly did – twice. Sitting on the floor, no noise beyond the laughter and guffaws prompted by the game, we enjoyed the splendid and ever-vanishing luxury of strengthening bonds through meaningless chatter. The perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Then, after taking in a back-to-back viewing of Daniel Tiger, she colored and then moved on to crafts. In coloring, she chose to depict our family at church. I’m not sure what prompted this thought. However, as a man trying to raise his young family on the bedrock of Christianity, I was happy to see the importance with which she places us in this setting. I was given this drawing to take to my office. It’s proudly displayed on the wall in front of me. It is a reminder of my responsibility to curate not just my faith journey, but now also my children’s. It is not my destiny, nor a statistical probability that I become the subject of a great artist’s master work on any artful medium. But I am responsible for creating my own masterful work of art in my children. God is an active agent in that process. I’m very fortunate to see it begin to take shape.
There are few things I can remember from being four years old. Handling scissors is not one of them. But since she’d done it before in our home, and at school, out came the construction paper. First, a snowman. Somewhat of a unique snowman, this gentleman featured a yellow hat, a head, two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two legs where normally the two lower sections of the rounded body would exist. No feet. We also made Moana using thin strips of paper for hair, not-to-scale blue eyes and, yes – long, thin strips for legs. Around the time that all completed, my wife slowed to a stop in front of our home. The tag-team was nearing its baton exchange.
I drove off to work filled with joy. I’ve not experienced that phenomenon in some time. For while we were playing together, I certainly recognized the novelty of the moment. But it was not until it passed that I was able to properly assess the priceless-ness of the moment. There are sure to be more moments like this, as long as God continues to bless me with life. It wasn’t about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was about a once-in-a-moment opportunity. In no time at all she will begin to master formulating shapes with her hand in scissors. She’ll learn to glue without help. She’ll become bored with snowmen. In the blink of an eye my daughter will move ever-closer to reliance upon technology for entertainment. She’ll experiment with new medium for her artistic creativity. I should hope I’ll play a part in those events, too. I’ve had the occasion to look back out the rapid development of my children. Too often, stages of my children’s lives pass without notice. My joy had everything to do with the fact that I’d captured one moment in time of this one.
I am eager to experience all aspects of my children’s lives. I hope to instill in them qualities which I believe will serve them in their own pursuit of happiness and purpose. Even just by being there, assuring them along the way. And yet still, sometimes, we get to provide the glue for the snowmen, until they learn to apply it for themselves. There are a few seemingly ordinary events in my life that I’ll treasure forever. Monday, January 29th, 2018 will be added to them. For now, I am grateful that I had the chance to be a part of this moment. That is every bit as intentional as it gets.
Yours in the Pursuit of Purpose,