Something more…

Listen here first:

Easy in the summer time

If that doesn’t work try this:
NPR article
click on the link on the left for “Easy in the summertime”

It’s a gorgeous song. It’s actually very sad. The background history of the song is that those are two sisters who’s father shot and killed their mother and then himself. That song is about that summer that it happened, almost 30 years ago. The song helped push me to think more about something I had already been thinking about: how do families get so messed up?

I look at my current family: wife and daughter, age 7 months. We so happy it’s almost ridiculous. The degree of peace and harmony we have I know can only come from God. We’ve definitely dropped into a rhythm of life that is enjoyable, sustainable and full of love. The thing I keep worrying about is: how to keep it that way. I look at families I know and there’s so much tension. I myself was raised in a somewhat chaotic feeling family of divorce and re-marry. The classic split family of my generation. It didn’t feel good around age 10-14. I really sensed that my family was sub-optimal.

I was deeply wounded when I didn’t make the little league team around 7th grade despite the fact that my step-dad had played baseball in college. We practiced exactly once leading up to the big try-out. I’m not sure that wound has ever healed completely. At times during high school I was pretty sure my wrestling coach ended up filling the roll of “father” for me: the male authority figure that taught me what being a man was.

And yet my father also didn’t kill my mother. I was never abused, I never went without breakfast or dinner. I got a Christmas every year. I had all books I wanted. Two week driving vacations across the county. Never a doubt that I would go to college or be “successful” in life. I can’t complain about my life, how I turned out, or even my relationship with my family now.

But I listen to that song and I think that aiming for Ruthie growing up with her parents not divorcing or literally killing each other may not be aiming high enough. I don’t want to aim for “well at least I didn’t molest her”. I want to aim for genuine love. I want my daughter to love me and her to know and really feel that I love her. I want to aim for her to be able to trust me with her inner thoughts. I want her to know that we are there for her and for her to think “I want my marriage to be like my parents”. I want to aim higher…and I suspect that most people do when they get married or have a child, but somewhere along the way it often goes to pot.

Bluntly I think the issue is human sin. Infidelity, greed (working too much and not seeing your kids), selfishness (a parent’s life or activities being more important to them then supporting their child), laziness, boredom, are all things that I suspect erode everyone’s goal for “doing it better”. I have to keep remembering that. As work gets busier and more expectations and requirements fall on me. As more Boards ask me to be president (I’m about be elected president of the Board I sit on). As I get more hobbies (I still want to pick up fly fishing) and resume my normal ones after having the baby (backpacking), I need to keep holding on to the fact that what I really want is loving family and loving God with those other things coming second.

This is a two part post the next to come sometime next week…..stay tuned!

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Published in: on January 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment