Thursday, November 30, 2006

I Will Now Sell 5 Copies of The Three EP's by The Beta Band

I'm not going to lie. My life has changed. Early on, people would ask me if things were different now that I am a father, and I didn't really know what to say. I think I have something concrete to say now. When becoming a parent, there is an element of selflessness demanded that did not exist before. The interesting thing is that we can take this mandate of selflessness, and react to it in one of two ways: we can give into it, accepting that selflessness is part of parenthood, or we can resist it, becoming even more selfish.

I think I've done both. In some ways, I've happily accepted this as an opportunity to put the interests of others before my own, seeking ways to help Marcie with caring for Addison, learning to deal with that which I have no control over. In other ways, I've become more self-absorbed, making parenthood an excuse to be a slacker in all other areas of life. I am much more easily distracted at work, and this whole putting up Christmas decorations ordeal is taking forever. I've patted myself on the back for being a decent dad, all the while becoming less decent a friend, pastor, student, etc.

Whether or not all I've stated above is actually true or not, I've felt the weight of the call to selflessness. It's heavy, because the very fate of a human life is in your hands. I don't know if I would have been able to understand it before, and I don't know if I can explain it to anyone else, but there is a weight. Yet the weight, though ever present, seems to be lifted whenever I make the choice to put them ahead of myself and just let go of my selfish ambitions and vain conceit, etc. It's when I ignore the weight that it becomes heavier, for myself, for Marcie, for Addison.

Last night I was giving an acquaintance a ride. He was in the middle of a fight with his girlfriend, and he said to me "I'm a strict baby daddy. She be tryin' to mess around wit other guys and stuff with my baby in her stomach. I ain't gonna mess wit her no more." Later he revealed to me that "I already got two strikes. I ain't gonna lie, I got a temper just like my daddy, and I hit her, and she called the cops on me twice, but she be messin' with me all the time, and I'm gettin' out before I get my third strike." It was pretty heavy. I told him that he should take responsibility for his actions, not blaming them on his daddy, but somehow I don't think he let it soak too deep. It left me saddened, and it gave me a shot of perspective. Seriously, these two were approaching parenthood like this? They're cheating on each other and beating each other all while they have a kid on the way? I couldn't imagine.

It's a lot easier to make babies than it is to raise them. I'm very tempted to sit in judgment on these two, but I know they haven't had the easiest lives. I know they haven't had things handed to them like I have. A decent amount of money, role models, consistent morality, faith in Christ, etc. I want him to be able to embrace the beauty of selflessness, but it runs a lot of what he's learned. It's hard enough for me, who not only knows this stuff, but teaches it to others every day...for a living. My heart goes out to them, because I know they don't want it to be this way. They've accepted it as their fate, though. It hurts to watch. I hope I get a chance to talk to him again soon.

Aside from all the heavy stuff, life has been pretty good. Marcie and I and Addison are loving our time together. Thanksgiving was a huge blast with ridiculous amounts of food and great family, friends, and a couple people who didn't have anywhere else to go. I've been listening to Songs for Christmas a ton, as well as Soft Bulletin by the Flaming Lips, Bring Me the Workhorse by My Brightest Diamond, some old live U2 and Radiohead shows, and all sorts of Wilco and The Clash. I have watched A Prairie Home Companion, United 93, Enigma, and High Fidelity. I'm still working on Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven But Nobody Wants to Die (or the Eschatology of Bluegrass), the book by David Crowder, but I'm not quite finished. I've enjoyed these various media at multiple levels. After watching High Fidelity, I have these overwhelming urges to make top 5 lists and make mix cd's for my loved ones, but I'm not sure if I'll actually follow through. Until next time.


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