Paul

188443_4550801637_8373_n6 days ago, on my 33rd birthday, the funeral for one of my best friends from high school took place.

As somebody said after I told them of Paul’s passing, “that’s 2 now.” Two friends that have at one time or another were my “best” friend have died.

The first was Chad in college. We’d been roommates for semester and friends for only a year-and-a-half or so when he fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into oncoming traffic. He passed about a week later having never regained consciousness. Carrie and I still stop in to see his parents every once in a while. It was hard, but it was one of the times where the assurances of the Scriptures were comforting. For me at least there was sorrow over a friend that I missed, it was washed away by the light of hope and joy.

On Saturday the 3rd of August, just over 2 weeks ago now, a member of our church family died. I didn’t know him well, but his mom is in the small group that we host at our house and he’d become a staple at least in our Sundays. The events surrounding his death are being kept private, but suffice it to say it was a new one for me — I’ve never known anyone who died in that particular manner before. From conversations that were had with members of our church there’s good reason to have hope as well, though I regret that I never really interacted with him.

Paul’s death, on the other hand, leaves no regret.

Mostly just questions.

At the end of our lives, I believe that there are two options: with Jesus and without Jesus. Call them what you want, but the people that have walked willingly with Jesus go with him; those who have resisted him will be allowed to go away from him.

Paul and I spent many hours in high school together. This is a portion of what I posted about him on Facebook:

We were in marching band together, in another band together. We rode our bikes all around Harborcreek. Stole things from the big box stores on upper Peach together which allowed us to play a lot of role playing games. We swam in the lake, trekked up and down streams, camped out, started fires, threw rocks at trains. We talked about the Bible and God. We smoked and sneaked into liquor cabinets. We had crushes on and dated some of the same girls. We laughed, we fought and after high school we didn’t talk much.

Neither was really the bad or good influence in our shenanigans. We formed a Christian hardcore band that we both ended up getting kicked out of.

"Please continue to watch over my family even when I'm not able 2."

“Please continue to watch over my family even when I’m not able 2.”

I remember him calling me out on doing something that the Scriptures clearly condemned once. He was reading them and learning them and applying them.

Yet, I know that his most recent “Religious Views” category on Facebook was “agnostic,” which seems to deny what he once believed. Currently, it’s not showing up as anything. He posted the picture and comment on the right as well.

The last time we interacted, I believe that God told me to relay something to him very specific.

I did. I sent the message.

“I miss you and always love you”

I got no reply.

Really, as of August 7 when his heart stopped, I have no idea what he believed.

I have no idea what happened as his pain faded along with his consciousness. I have met missionaries who started following Christ because of the visions they had while taking narcotics. If that, why not a something like that for Paul?

Crucifixion is mind-altering. The pain. The countering endorphins. The dehydration and exposure and loss of blood. If that may have helped one of the thieves crucified with Jesus, why not something like that for Paul?

I don’t know what happened to his mind and his heart. That’s true really for the past 15 years in general, but 11 days ago particularly. So, I can pray for the past right? If I believe that God is sovereign over time, and over the future” why not the past? I’m not asking him to change something that I know happened. I’m asking him to do something that I can’t know if he did or did not.

I wonder if I’ll ever stop praying for Paul.

I don’t really regret how things turned out, life is the way it is. But I’ve missed him sometimes, and I’m sad that I he won’t be one of the faces that I’ll see randomly in Erie any more. I’m devastated for his 3 little boys. I’m sad for his mom, his sisters and his dad. I’m sad for his girlfriend.

I hope to God that I’ll see you again some day, brother. I’ll miss you Paul.

I miss you. And always love you.

That one is from me.

A sense of direction. [UI Design]

Today, as my daughter watched her Your Baby Can Read video, I had ghosts of the 99% Invisible podcast dancing through my head. In a flash I realized that the time-line indicator on every video program or site moves from left to right. This is was someone’s conscious design choice. There was an option to move from right to left.

The Your Baby Can Read videos show words and then have an arrow underneath them that slide from left to right to train the babies to scan words that way. Again… left to right.

Once you think about it, the time-line indicator decision is obvious. We scan everything from left to right. It’s second-nature but it’s not natural, it’s something we learn before we even realize it.

My question: do time lines and play buttons in Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia go the other way?

Daditude: How I’m becoming Elaine Benes’ father.

All fathers are intimidating. They’re intimidating because they are fathers. Once a man has children, for the rest of his life, his attitude is, “To hell with the world, I can make my own people. I’ll eat whatever I want. I’ll wear whatever I want, and I’ll create whoever I want.” – Seinfeld, S02E03 “The Jacket

Pipe down, chorus boy!

One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve become a father is a general disregard for other people’s crap and some social conventions regarding “politeness”. I’m pretty sure I’m channeling Alton Benes.

This may sound like an odd statement to those of you who know me; I am often perceived to be someone who doesn’t really care about these things anyhow – which is not entirely true. I often find myself being awkward about things that aren’t that big of a deal… for example, if Carrie and I are on a road trip and have some water bottles which we’ve emptied (purchased ones – Dasani, etc.), Carrie will just want me to go into a gas station to fill them up at a water fountain rather than purchase more. For some reason this sets off my “socially awkward” alarm and I have a hard time doing it. These are the kind of things that I usually care about and get wierded out by… I don’t know why.

Lately, though, I’ve grown a bit of what I’m calling a Daditude. That is, if there’s something regarding my child’s (or baby mama’s) comfort, hunger, privacy, or anything else that I notice needs taken care of – I just do it.

I don’t care who thinks it’s rude or weird or anything else… you can deal with it, my kid is happier when we sit in the shade so I’m going to sit right behind you in the grass.

I think that this is healthy at some level. I’m not doing this for my own good, comfort, or whatever… it’s for the two ladies who are my priority. The things that I won’t do to save myself $5 or make myself less blasted hot are things that I’ll blow right past for these two without looking back.

So, if a bald-headed dad with big eyes pushes you out of the way for a place in the shade for his daughter’s stroller, I’m sorry.

Kinda.

Not really.

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On becoming a father…

I haven’t really mentioned it here, but I’m going to have a daughter as of early June.

Most of that reality hasn’t sunk in yet. My wife is definitely “showing” now, but beyond that, my kid is just a sonogram. We don’t have any names picked out, we don’t know anything about her. I am looking forward to meeting her though.

I started to write what I thought might become a “daddy blog,” but I am not good at writing regularly. Perhaps I’ll improve though. I’ll try to include these thoughts on fatherhood here. Here’s something I wrote on the other blog:

Today I’m thinking about things both before and after me, us, the Kiddo, etc.

On the way to work today NPR was talking about in-vitro fertilization and one of the scientists who pioneered it getting the Nobel Prize after 32 years. It’s only 2 years older than I am & I’ve always known it as a reality (not for me, just in general).

This made me think about things that have happened before and after we’re around. I remember back to my developmental psychology class and talking about how long it takes children to gain a concept of things that happened before them. The Kiddo will grow up learning about 9/11, the internet, the Steelers winning one for the thumb all as history, the same way I did with Vietnam, Elvis, and Koehler beer.

I also think of things that people who have died have missed. A friend who died while I was in college never knew of September 11th either. “Dimebag” Darrell (of Pantera fame) died before Saddam Hussein was captured.

I just wonder what the things are that will shock the Kiddo to learn. Especially the things that I grew up through or was just a part of reality for me. What do you mean you didn’t have a cell phone until you were out of college?!

I also wonder at the things that the Kiddo will experience after we’re gone.

I’m really angry that I’m going to miss out on teleportation.

Well, off to ponder becoming a big softy.