My Son and My Teacher
My most precious soul friend is my three-year-old son Finn…but it wasn’t always that way.
Last year at this time, Finn was well into his terrible twos - defiant, and pushing every last button I had. I was constantly frustrated with him and increasingly impatient and loud. It was not what I wanted for our relationship.
At the same, I was planning my sabbatical on everyday spirituality called “Everyday Sacred,” and it became clear that my relationship with Finn would be an important part of my project.
We got to work quickly. We spent the first part of the sabbatical travelling in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. We ate out for lunch most days, but just like at home, Finn never made it through a meal. Like clockwork, as soon as the food would hit the table, he would be up out of his chair. With my wife Jenny pregnant with twins, I was the designated Finn-chaser. I really resented not being able to sit and relax and eat my food, especially on my sabbatical.
First appeared in November 2008 Redeemer Newsletter
At our family cottage in Quebec, we have a burying ground of sorts.
It is tucked away in the woods, halfway between the campfire and the lake, and marked by a ring of stones, with one white stone in the middle. It holds the ashes of several of Jenny’s family members.
One afternoon at the cottage this summer, as the kids and I were trudging through the woods looking for sticks to roast marsh mellows, Ellie stood up, looked around and said, “What a wonderful view from here. Daddy, Daddy, what a wonderful view. It is so beautiful.” She was enthralled by the beauty of the woods and the golden light of the sun shimmering off the lake through the trees. Little did she know she was standing right next to that sacred ground, which was chosen precisely for that wonderful view.
First appeared in September 2008 Redeemer Newsletter
My sabbatical project “everyday sacred” was about finding God in the midst of everyday life.
During my first week of sabbatical I was the parent helper in Ellie’s preschool class. It is the responsibility of the parent helper to provide and set out the snack for the day, and to just read or play with the thirteen or so kids in the class. It was a great gift to have the time to be there. As you can imagine, thirteen 5-6 year olds easily generate plenty of energy and chaos. In the midst of that, Ellie said to me, “Daddy, come here, look at this.” She took a glob of green gak, a Play-Doh like substance, but more soft and gooey, and slapped it on the edge of the table. We sat on the floor and watched as the gak moved slowly down to the floor, folding over itself again and again. We watched for several minutes, and, in the midst of the chaos swirling around us, found what T.S. Eliot once called “the still point of the turning world.”