In this life we are okay with settling for the easy and stuffing away the complicated. I am going to talk about the complicated in this post and you are probably going to hate it. I want you know; I love you.
Mark Driscoll catches lots of flack for talking about stuff no one wants to because no one wants to see anyone else’s dirty underwear. That’s the funny thing though; we all have that dirty underwear. As a man growing up with sisters, I learned that women are real people with their own problems. Women can be mean, angry, and many other things those ads on television don’t tell you about. I learned from my sister’s and mom that women can be wonderful and friendly, too. I also learned that women struggle with hair.
When I got married, I learned that sex isn’t what everyone brags about. It can be both sweet and bitter, done right and wrong. I learned that marriage is way more complex than I could imagine, and that often the right answer is simply shutting my mouth. Once you are married there is no such thing as privacy. After getting used to the idea of sex, my mind was blown away by the idea of birth. Seeing my children being born has stripped away all the fake images and notions I had of women as a youth. Flesh and bone had never been so complex.
As a kid I remember being terrified of the first time I saw a dead animal; a deer split from pelvis to neck, hair and blood covering the ground, entrails being pulled out onto the leaves with bare hands, and eyes wide in shock as though they starred into the great unknown. I remember seeing pornography for the first time, and it was that deer that I thought about. We humans can be very animalistic at times, reducing other people to things and objects.
Today my oldest girl turned six, and she is the kindest person I know. She has a caring nature that looks after herself and her family. She has been practicing art, music (oh, the Disney songs!), math, and writing. Today she played with her friend at the park, ate cake and ice cream, and opened presents. Just before bed we gave her a birthday card. It was a homemade card in which we all traced our hands on a piece of paper and wrote “Happy 6th Birthday.” She nearly started to cry, brought the card over to me, and asked for me to put it somewhere safe.
God is in the blood; God is in the body; and God is in the Spirit. Where is God during the dirty diapers? Right there. Where is Good during masturbation, sex, slurps, taking a dump, reading a book, picking your nose, scratching your hair, and all things? Jesus is right there. We are never alone, but are free from solitude. We are free from darkness, children of light and life. Being a dad is recognizing this even in the bleakest of times.
Being a dad is taking on the role of reality, being grounded in the light dads hold in the family, friends, and sometimes even the church accountable to truth. The dad points to what is greater than himself, seeing everything and never ceasing to love, always getting his hands dirty.
It was my dad who was pulling the entrails out of that deer, and it was he who crafted the bow and arrow, worked all his life learning to hunt, married my mom, and shot the deer for us to eat. He prayed over the deer before he processed it, and taught me to provide for my family, and to pray.
Life is messy, not clean. Relationships and living with others are really disorganized. Life isn’t supposed to be fancy or put together. Life is about love, which draws people to the beach to simply be with one another, basking in the sun, sand, and hotdogs over a pit. Mostly though it’s about loving Jesus and everyone else, in their own skin.
photo credit: (Sarah Robinson) via photopin cc