Today was one of those days, I really struggled. Christmas is approaching quickly and in my line of work, being a pastor, Advent and Christmas seasons are really busy. Our church participates in an ecumenical Soup and Scripture, which is great. Each Wednesday during both Advent and Lent a different church provides soup and a speaker for a lunch community devotional. It is a great time. During this time Emmet usually has a play date with some local friends which allows me to participate in the Soup and Scriptures. I am finding that Emmet forces me to rely so much more on other people, but that is a different story.
Michigan in the winter means snow, sometimes lots of snow. Way more snow than I’m used to during this season in Bolivia growing up. Christmas there was 90 degrees, swimming in an out door pool and grilling all kinds of meat at midnight on Christmas Eve. But Michigan winters on a dead end road are not great. If we get plowed, and there are times we don’t, it’s days after the snow falls. Needless to say out next home won’t be on a dead end road. But snow, we just had 6-8 inches fall last week.
My parents came to visit over the weekend which was nice, as we got the car stuck on Saturday. We are able to see the lights at 5/3 Ballpark with them which was really great. When we got stuck on Saturday it was really great to have my dad there to help me push while my wife drove. Pushing a car with two people is a lot easier than on your own. We were even able to help a neighbor when they were stuck.
So today I bundled Emmet up in multiple layers, his hat one (which is a battle), his awesome multicolored scarf and his boots on and headed out the door to take him on a play date and me off to Soup and Scripture. I strapped him in, turned on NPR and put the car in reverse only to move 3 feet and spin my tires on ice. Ice likes to hide under the snow. So I put the car in drive and moved forward 2 feet, back in reverse again and moved backwards 4 feet only to find ice again. This went on for 20 minutes. My frustration and anger was building. I put the car in neutral and tried pushing it out, nothing. I watched three cars on our street drive by, park and retreat into their warm, dry homes. No one came to help. Gosh, I had already helped one person so far this winter, was no one going to help me?!!! With my car 5 feet from where I started I gave up. I told Emmet that we were going to go back into the house and not go to Soup and Scripture. I sent out emails and text messages to people letting them know I would be unable to attend and stormed back into the house. I was mad, no one was willing to help me. As I was taking my coat off and huffing and puffing I heard Emmet crying.
I can be self centered at times. I had been so focused where I was going, what I was suppose to go and do that I temporarily forgot about where Emmet was going. “Daddy we mead (need) to go to Athey’s house”. I had been so focused on what I was missing that I neglected to comfort and meet the needs of my son. I was so angry at other people not being willing to help that I missed the pain my son was feeling. I was so angry that people where not helping me, that they were so wrapped up in their lives and reality I missed the fact I was doing the same to Emmet. I was so wrapped up in myself, I didn’t even consider the impact on Emmet until after he started crying. My heart broke for him. This was all out of his control.
Sleeping at Last wrote a song called “Light” that I sing to Emmet, when no one else is around. The chorus goes like this:
“With every heartbeat I have left,
I’ll defend your every breath.
I promise I’ll do better.
I will soften every edge,
Hold the world to its best.
I promise I’ll do better.”
It is currently one of my favorite songs. To Emmet I promise I’ll do better. With ever heartbeat I have left, I’ll defend his every breath. Emmet I’ll do better. Today I realized I have a long way to go.
I may have missed a great time with friends and fellow believers over soup, but Emmet missed a great time playing with a friend building a friendship and that broke his heart. I want to be more tuned into Emmet’s emotions and needs. Much like the people being wrapped up in their lives and realities to help me, I was the jerk who was to wrapped up in my life and reality to notice my son needed me.
So this afternoon we ate sausages, played a matching game and laughed together. I would not have changed that for anything else. My wife came home and it took us 15 minutes to get the car out and on the road again.