Friday, August 1, 2014


I work a lot. I’m holding down a full-time job, plus three one-hour private classes a week, and four others sprinkled throughout the month. I usually get home around 8:30 and then it’s supper, shower, bed. I had been at this for about four weeks when I was sitting on the couch, playing a video game, and a sudden feeling of guilt came over me. I told my wife and she asked me why. I said that it was because I feel like I should be working. I had yet to switch off. I used to be pretty laid-back, and now I have a difficult time just playing a game on my phone.
Well, needless to say, I’ve been feeling tired because of it. Being an introvert, I have a difficult time with people. I’m uncomfortable around people. Don’t get me wrong, I like persons. Persons are great. All of my best friends are persons. But, none of them are people. So, when I’m around people almost all the time, I burn out. I revel in loneliness. I yearn to be left alone. If you’re an extrovert and having a difficult time imagining this, I’ll explain it the way I did to the one I married. Imagine that you’ve been locked in a room for thirteen hours a day. You’ve spent that whole time working, and none of it talking. You get home, you spend a few precious minutes with your family, and then you go to bed. You spend your entire week doing that. During the weekend, you spend a few hours chatting happily with your friends, and then you’re locked in that same room for a few more hours. Then Monday rolls around and it starts all over again. That’s how I feel.
So, there I was one evening, feeding my boy his bottle. Liz had gone for a run and, it never fails, he starts wailing. He's obviously tired. I gave him a bath, got him ready for bed, and then started feeding him. But, the poor thing is so tired that he has a hard time deciding between between sucking and crying. I could put him to bed, but I know that he’ll wake up in the middle of the night because of his empty stomach.
“I know, Buddy,” I say as he knocks his head back and cries. “I know you’re tired. I know you want to go to sleep. But, you need to have a bottle first. I know it sucks, but this is for your own good. You’ll rest soon.”
And then I feel it; something I’ve felt many times before. God is smirking at me. Not smiling, mind you. Smirking. He’s just played one of his practical jokes on me. In the midst of all this crying and wailing, I realized that I had been doing the same thing. Oh, it’s not wrong to cry when one’s tired. I’m not sure it’s a sin to wail because you just want to rest. God was reminding that rest will come, but there’s a good reason that He has kept it off. And that reason is good for me. That reason will make the rest all the more sweeter, deeper, and more satisfying.
God does not expect us to keep going. Daily life makes that obvious. We work for a time and then we sleep. The Christian understanding of work is that we do it to rest. We are not slothful nor are we workaholics. We work for a time, then we rest, then we stand up and work some more. This is the cycle of the Christian life. Heaven will not be a place where we recline all day and eat bunches of grapes in an idyllic garden. Our rest will be the work of the worship of God forever, of which we will never tire of nor grow weary. We will do it every day and still feel that we could do it one more.
To be a Christian means to embrace a full, honest rest that comes after a long day of work. We avoid the dual sins of over-working and laziness by keeping in mind that the only rest worth having is the kind that comes after working, and the only work worth doing is the one that let's us rest. This very thing was modeled at the creation of the world, when God worked and then rested.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Coming of Sam

He had a full head of black, unkempt hair, wide and intellegent eyes, and a very active mouth, but rarely ever uttered a sound. When we were told that the child they had in mind of us had Down's, I am embarrassed to say, my heart sank a little. It would be a slog to connect with him. He would be spacey, incommunicative. I would manage, but only just. I saw what was coming. But, I was wrong.
Because those intellegent eyes needed other eyes. He seeks them out. He must be looking at someone and someone must be looking at him. His greatest happiness is seeing us in the morning after he wakes up. He grins, he sighs, and we fall in love all over again. This is Sam. This is my boy.
My wife has a condition called Endometriosis, besides having minor to severe pain sometimes, it also makes getting pregnant almost impossible. We tried, but nothing ever happened. We moved to a new house, but still nothing. We moved to another country, and yet nothing. We considered fertility treatments, but we felt uncomfortable doing it. We would never advise others against it, but we just felt God telling us not to. So, we continued to pray, get frustrated, get angry, apologize to God, and pray some more. Then, my wife got a crazy idea. What about adoption? Am I comfortable with that? Can I see us adopting a little Japanese baby? I'm not crazy about the idea of getting a disabled kid, but that's okay. I can manage. Let's do it! And so the waiting started.
During that time I began to understand the stress that fathers can get under. We were going to drop down to one income. Liz would stay home and take care of the kid and I would be the one working. Well, that meant taking on private English classes; fifteen a month, actually. I worried about becoming like a Japanese father, rarely ever home, always working, a practical stranger to wife and child. I refused to be like that, but here I was turning into one. I now get home around 8:30 at night most weekday nights, long after my son has gone to. It's then a shower, supper, and bed for me. But, I have to take care of my family.
Well, I lie.
I learned through having tremendous college debt, a low paying job, and a lot of bills that I cannot take care of my family. I cannot provide anything for them. I simply have nothing to offer. I began to realize that only God can take care of them. Only He can give them what they need. I still have debt, bills, and a job that barely makes ends meet, but I have hope. I trust God. I hope and trust that this is just for a season.
The coming of Sam has taught me a lot of things, but not nearly as many as his life will. We have had him for a month and already I feel different. I feel taller, thicker, and stronger because I have somone short, small, and weak to protect. I feel more motivated at work knowing that I have a wife and child to take care of, but ultimately I know that I cannot protect him and I cannot take care of them. God can. He has given them to me. They're on loan and one day, maybe before I die, He'll take them back. And that's okay. I will mourn, but not without hope.
So, all of that is to say that the coming of Sam was a life changing experience and I intend to document those changes in this blog. This is not an adoption advocacy blog, although I will advocate for adoption. Rather, this blog will contain the thoughts and observations of a father whose been adopted by an awesome little boy and an even greater Father.