Round #2

5 days of life.

I’m a pretty outspoken non-lover of the early months of a babies life.  Seriously is there any reasonable answer to the question “How’s your baby doing?”  Um….she cries, interrupts my sleep, and needs a diaper change a lot of the time.  She doesn’t roughhouse or draw or talk or ….do much of anything fun.  Someone taught me the response “Pretty helpless still” I think I might adopt that.

Well that’s not totally true she’s a month now and has really started smiling, that’s pretty cute.  Despite all my ranting…I definitely love this little girl sooner than my first.  It’s not just that she cries less than our first did, it’s not that she sleeps a little better than the first did, it’s not that she actually likes the car seat.  Because those things are all true and really, really nice.  It’s more that I know what to look forward to.  I love my oldest so much it’s actually crazy sometimes.  We were wrestling on the carpet yesterday and her giggles filled our house with joy beyond description.  Dorothy was feeding the youngest in the rocking chair and Ruthie was playing her double knee drop on daddies genitals game.  High comedy.  Don’t worry- hands for protection and it’s actually pretty hilarious.  I’m sometimes amazed at the fact that I haven’t really ever injured or hurt her because she really plays very aggressively and I’m 8x her mass.

Knowing that down the road I’ll have a similar experience with this new Baby Amy makes me more relaxed about the whole thing.  Some if it may simply it being “round 2” and being a more experienced father, but I don’t think so.  Ruthie smiled at me when she was 1 month old but it still took until this post when Ruthie was almost 4 months old to really “fall in love with her”.  I really know what’s in store and I have stronger feelings about this second baby at a younger age than with the first.

I might even consider doing this again, even though I suspect I’m destined to have 3 girls….

About to start crying actually.

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Published in: on August 15, 2012 at 4:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Do we love our bodies?

The Bible is a living document in part because our understanding of the text changes as we change. One can read a passage multiple times and read it a certain way and then read it from a different perspective and have a significant epiphany. This happened to me with a passage I have probably read 20+ times. Ephesians is one of my favorite epistles and I’ve read it many, many times in part because of the passages on marriage. It also contains the longest passage that I have memorized. I’ve been reading it for the last few weeks and read this passage again with a completely different insight then I have ever had:

Ephesians 5:28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

It’s a beautiful call to husbands to love wives as much as they love themselves. Coming from a Reformed and relatively Calvanistic background it’s been assumed that husbands love themselves. In-fact here’s part of what Calvin says about this passage:

“An argument is now drawn from nature itself, to prove that men ought to love their wives. Every man, by his very nature, loves himself. But no man can love himself without loving his wife. Therefore, the man who does not love his wife is a monster.”

Almost every sermon or commentary I’ve heard/read take it for granted that we (as husbands) love ourselves, tend to be self centered and selfish and we are to love our wives in the way that we already love ourselves. I agree with that sentiment but….I realized this week that it actually says something a little more than that. Here I’ll include the next verse:

Ephesians 5:28-29 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their
own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—

The passage is not really telling us to love our wives as we love “ourselves” meaning the “our personalities” or “our Ego” (in the Freudian sense). It’s literally saying love our wives as we love our “physical bodies”. It’s not implicit, it’s actually explicit when taken with verse 29. Calvin seems to take it for granted that this would be true, but he’s never met an American. It’s clear that most of us hate our bodies! We don’t get the rest, exercise or fuel that our bodies need. We choose TV and facebook over sleep. We choose convenient frankenfoods (“because they taste better”- what a crock) over healthful homecooked meals. We say “when I get home from a long day of work I’m too tired to exercise” though what we really mean is “I want to watch TV when I get home even though a walk would actually make me feel better while the TV makes me feel even less energetic.”

Anyone who has been cornered by me recently knows that I’ve been pouring an incredible amount of energy into thinking about the root of the American obesity epidemic, while also getting back into “fighting shape” myself. Dorothy and I hit a low of fitness about March 2011. It had gotten pretty bad. After Ruthie was born June 2010 we really let our exercise go. We were tired, I was still figuring out how to juggle my schedule here, and by the time Ruthie started to sleep it was the brutal Jerome winter. Starting around April 2011 when I started doing Kung-fu and Dorothy started going to the YMCA to work-out. After a series of energy sucking meetings that ended in spring 2012 I upticked even more in my exercise and have really basically gotten back into what I would consider very good condition again. In many ways I would consider this my “normal” as I spent many years through the end of medical school and residency in this kind of shape when I was racing triathalon or bikes. I’ve also got my diet and appetite more in line with good health simply by not eating so much dang dessert (our diet was pretty clean all along). It turns out from review of my old exercise journals that I spent a long time around this weight also (averaging about 162 right now).

One outcome from this has been a noticeable increase in my libido and more specifically finding my wife much more attractive and desirable than I had while my fitness had been less. Not to say I didn’t find her attractive before (seriously she’s hot) but I found myself wanting to spend more time and physical energy on her as my fitness improved. I’m using the multiple definitions of attractive here, not just in the sexual/physical way. I’ve also find myself wanting to support her return to fitness. We likely have many, many years of marriage ahead of us and it would nice to enjoy them with energy and without the disease of poor health that I see plaguing Americans wholesale. Arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, poor balance, nursing homes….these are the realities of retirement in America. I never hear those that maintained good health and fitness say “the Golden years aren’t so Golden” it’s usually former smokers or the obese who can’t figure out how they got to this place of debilitation.

So men: this passage is first an explicit call to “love your body”. Not self worship, not narcissism but getting it the rest, exercise and fuel it needs. CHOOSE health. From there we are to love our wives as we love our bodies. If you are married, make the changes needed because I can tell you from personal experience it becomes easier to love your wife better. If you are unmarried make the changes ahead of time, health probably won’t hurt in helping you find a wife.

Women: I’d guess that if men are called to love their bodies….the same is true for ya’ll. Likewise if (which is usually true even in two income homes) you do all the shopping or cooking you can do your part by making better choices about what fuels are even available in the house. Take control: a household that contains no soda, cookies, or frankenfoods makes it much easier for everyone living there to make good diet choices.

Perfect hair night for delivery. My gorgeous wife.

Published in: on August 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Girls

Image

 

Amy Elizabeth is born!  Technically it’s been almost a month, but I haven’t blogged in a bit, so better late than never. She was born July 9th 7lbs 5.5 oz 20 inches.  So here’s some background on that night and my feelings so far.

Sunday July 8th was starting to feel like do or die time.  My schedule was essentially changed to take that next week off.  Dorothy’s mom had been here for 10 days already and in her own words “Family is a little like fish, after too many days they both start to stink.”  We were past her due date and Ruth was born on the due date so we had been expecting a little before her due date. That and her very, very dilated cervix.  Dorothy had been having contractions for weeks, but nothing to “write home about”.  So Sunday we decided to try to help things along a little.  Prayer at church, check.  Nipple stim- check. I even ran out to the store and got real Raspberry Leaf Tea.  She had few cups of that.  Then in the evening after dinner we went for a short walk down our lane, Ruthie in the carrier on my back.

Our “neighbors”…

[..side note that we took to calling them our “neighbors” because originally we were calling them “the Mexicans” and we decided that it just seemed too racist for some reason.  I mean they are all latinos in the little run down house that’s the only house on our road, we have yet (see below) to have any of them speak English to us.  It’s a little unclear how many live there actually, but they have always been friendly in the form of waves….]

…were outside cooking food which smelled great. We all waved at each other.  I’d say there were 7-8 men, which is more than is typical.  We walked about .5 mile up the road and came back, waving again.  As we got about halfway from our neighbors house to our house a car pulled up next to us.  The driver said “Here’s some carne asada.  When we see a pregnant woman walk past we give her carne asada.”  He hands us a plate with two pounds of meat covered by a paper towel.  The smell was amazing. We had already eaten dinner but ate half the plate on the walk home.  

So..walk- check, .carne asada- check.  We went to bed really hoping to have the baby the next day so I didn’t have to go to work  on Tuesday.  We went to bed about 10:30.  About 1:05 AM Dorothy wakes me and says “Josh, I think we need to go to the hospital.”  I’m like “Ok, how many contractions have you had?”  “Four”.  

“Four?!?!?”  “No I’m serious these are really strong.”  She had one at 12:30, one at 12:45, one at 12:55 and one at 1 AM and felt it was time.  I was skeptical. Then she started having them every two minutes and needing to kneel on the ground with them, then she says “I think I need to poop.”  to which I responded “Get in the car”.  The drive to the hospital was punctuated by rupture of membranes and by a brief pause for her to try to puke out of the open passenger side door. 

We got to the hospital about 1:40 AM and had Amy at 2:12 AM.  I actually called the OB nurse cell phone on the way because of that body language that anyone that does OB knows as “this lady is going to have a baby soon.”  

So first labor with Ruthie started at 11 PM and ended at 7:30 AM with two hours of pushing and was 6 pounds. Amy was 1:40 from first hard contraction to delivery with about 3 pushes at 7lbs 5.5 oz.  What a difference!  It’s interesting that the fast labor was sort of making Dorothy freak out about having to push. She didn’t have time emotionally to get ready for that last pain.  Right before pushing she was saying “I’m freaking out, I can’t do this, I’m not ready.”  Of course it was coming so fast it was pretty well out of her hands.  

My feelings toward baby #2 are very different also, I’ll plan on posting those thoughts soon.  

Published in: on August 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm  Comments (4)  

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!

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

Poison!

I had the interesting experience as a physician and father a few weeks ago of having those two competing interests at odds with each other. It caused me a significant amount of psychiatric grief, something I’m not much prone to.

It begins with me taking a 4 month old child to Maui. I wouldn’t normally chose to travel to such a far destination with my child, for one reason that’s how you get kids sick. My little Ruthie did end up with her first cold a few days after coming back. For another thing: children don’t care about time zones. Their body tells them when they should go to bed and when they should get up, we try to adjust that by “sleep training them” but time zones through things for loop.

So we took Ruth to Hawaii, it’s a 1.5 hour drive to Boise, a 1.5 hour flight to LA, then a 5-5.5 hour flight to Maui. Keep in mind that as recent has a month ago my daughter cried for upwards of 4 hours straight the last time we tried to drive longer then 30 minutes (1.5 hour drive to Hailey and then several hours of crying after trying to put her to bed). It seemed daunting. The start of the trip went off without a hitch.

The thing about Ruth is that she is a social-a-holic. She loves being out and seeing people, even at the expense usually of taking a nap. I’ve joked about it many times before that no one even believes we have a fussy baby. When she’s a church she’s a smiling angel, but the drive home will be continuous tears and then nap refusal and fussy afternoon because of being over tired. So flying on the plane, and transfer, airports was constant social stimulation for her longest stretch ever. We got to Maui 4:30 Maui time which is 8:30 PM here. She is now 2+ hours over her bed time. We loaded in the car over an hour later. We clicked her into the car seat and she cried for 45 minutes straight to the resort.

Now we come to the crux of the conflicting internal emotions. We had a plan in place to give the baby a tiny dose of Benadryl to sleep when we got to the resort the first night and hopefully help her “sleep in” and adjust time zones. The doctor in me has given that advice at times and knew it to be reasonable. The father of a doted upon, precious, darling, 4 month old little girl was crying out “Poison!!!”

Let’s look at this analytically. Benadryl is an allergy medication. It’s an anti-histamine. It’s not a sleeping medication, per se. It helps people sleep because the molecule diphenhydramine blocks histamine receptors and histamine receptors are involved in both allergy but also sleep. By blocking the H1 receptors in the skin and nose it reduces allergy, by blocking it in the brain it makes you tired. It also cross reacts with another category of receptors called the cholinergic receptors and medications that do that often make one drowsy also. It’s pretty safe from a medical perspective at the correct dosing. The side effect is “drowsiness” not “life threatening coma and death in infants”.

I rarely advise it to parents as a physician because over-dosing a child on it can be dangerous and there are deaths linked to doses much higher than appropriate (for example I found an article about a day care provider using 6x the dose I used on my 4 month old on a 3 month old and it dying). I rarely advise it because I can’t be there to assure that the parents understand concentrations and dosing of medications. For me it’s intuitive what 12.5 mg/5ml means and how much 5 ml is. My typical patient doesn’t even know what that sort of formula is or how to use it. I spend a lot of my day during cold and flu season explaining how to dose Tylenol (fortunately most parents UNDER dose that and their kids come to my office with a fever of a 102 on a half dose of anti-fever medication- so maybe it’s unfortunatly).

So again, the MD in me was pretty comfortable with our plan to give our baby one does of Benadryl. The father in me was shouting internally “Kids have died!” Keep in mind that this was only like 2 weeks after I really fell in love with my daughter on the walk from my last blog post. We went ahead with it, giving her a ½ teaspoon, she spit/coughed/gagged most of it out and we put her to bed. She woke up at 4 AM and I couldn’t help but think “maybe we should have given her a little more”….

Published in: on October 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sustainable Love

This is a two part entry based around this picture.

Part 1 Sustainable Exercise

I have been reading a book called Blue Zones by Dan Buettner about the places in the world with the longest life spans and the factors that lead to the “hot spots” of centenarians. I haven’t finished the book yet, but the thing that the book has really impressed upon me is the importance of what I’m calling “sustainable exercise”. The two places I’ve read about in Blue Zones the people are forced by lifestyle, geography, work, etc to exercise at a moderate level….indefinitely. This is very different then how I have lived most of my life. There was a time when I lived on Capital Hill that I walked a lot and the period during medical school that I commuted by bicycle. That has not been the norm and most of my exercise in my life has really been “training” for races. I’ve been in very good shape at different times, late high school I was in excellent shape. About 2-3 years ago I was in excellent shape, racing bicycles and/or running races. The bicycle racing was not sustainable for me however- see my other post about that.

I’ve been running semi-regularly over the summer and was getting back up to 5 or so miles with my weight having come down some and my fitness returning. The problem being that I would feel sore during the early part of the week, tired from work during the later part of the week and got to the point where I only ended up running on the weekend. Three days of weekend warrior running was not a sustainable program. So as I’ve been reading this book I came up with this idea of trying to just make moderate sustainable exercise a regular part of the daily activity. For me this probably isn’t going to be running. Biking maybe. Swimming (if that was available to me) would probably work, but there is no pool during the winter available in Jerome for lap swimming. Driving to Twin for exercise during the winter doesn’t seem to fit the idea of “sustainable” to me. So Dorothy and I started walking in the mornings before work. It’s about 1.5 miles round trip on the gravel road which we did every day this week so far- it takes about 30 minutes for us. The picture above was taken on Tuesday. It’s nice and cool in the mornings, we enjoy each other’s company, the sun rise and the exercise. It has been great for all of us (see part 2 below). This “sustainable” exercise will be supplemented on the weekend by much longer walks, running and eventually hiking and backpacking again. I’ll very likely get a mountain bike which I think will be sustainable exercise. I’m not sure how well this will work come winter as the temperatures get very low, but we’ll see, layers may just make this sustainable despite very cold temperatures. Maybe they make baby balaclavas?

Part 2 Scales in the Favor of Love

The picture also marks a turning point in my feelings about and my relationship with my daughter. We (Dorothy and I) have had a rough transition to parenthood. Few have seen our difficult times because Ruth seems to be pretty well behaved in public, but as recently as 13 days ago she cried for 3 straight hours while we tried to get her to bed. I have loved my daughter because she’s my daughter but honestly the joy I got out of having a child was far exceeded by the pain, inconvenience, crying, etc. The scales were tipped until Tuesday this week to “I kinda wish I hadn’t had a child” or maybe “there’s no freaking way I’m doing this again”.

Then something changes Tuesday morning. We had such an amazing walk that I had Dorothy take a picture of us on my camera phone (the one above). She was so cute, talking through 3/4 of the walk, which is mostly “ahhhhhgrahhhhhahhhhgrahhh”. The talking was punctuated by her looking up at me and smiling and then going back to looking to the side (much as she looks in the picture) and talking. For the last 1/4 she cuddled up to my chest and fell asleep. On Tuesday I could not stop thinking about her at work. I kept looking at that picture and showing to everyone. I was counting down the minutes until I could get home and see her. I worked late and got home just about as Dorothy got her to sleep and for the first time in Ruth’s life I was disappointed she was asleep.

Why the sudden turn around? Part of it is that our daughter has now been napping for about 12 days. The difference in a child from three 5 minute naps in a day to two-three hour long naps during the day, is pretty remarkable. She has been less fussy, more fun, more interactive and easier to get to bed at night. All things that have improved the mental health of our household. The difference started when Dorothy stopped drinking coffee two weeks ago today. Over-night change.

Before when people asked “How’s little Ruthie?” or “do you love being a daddy?, I’d respond one of two ways 1) those that I thought could take it I told them the truth “being a father kind of blows” or 2) those that I didn’t think could take the truth I told them “she’s really growing” which is a true statement but not quite the whole truth.

Now I can really say “I love my little girl”. A deeper love then the “I’ve decided to love and support my child (see my feelings about love in my previous blog post “You Complete Me”) that I had before. This is a “I adore my baby” kind of love. Several sagely fathers a little further down the road had told me “Just survive the first four months and it gets better”. Her 4 month birthday is tomorrow….I guess I’ll know what my advice to fathers will be.

Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 12:26 am  Comments (2)  

Proud

Ruth Hazel Kern is born! June 1st at 7:26 AM Dorothy gave birth to our beautiful baby girl. The picture below is from today. She is amazing, wonderful, and mysterious. I love her. I’m not going to blog about her. I’m going to blog about my wife: whom is amazing, wonderful and mysterious. I’ve heard the phrase “proud papa” before, I had always assumed that the phrase applied to the new child. For me however the pride is in my wife.

Pride or more specifically “to be proud” is a difficult concept for me. Two very different definitions of proud that I will elaborate on here (from dictionary.com):
1.
feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself (often fol. by of, an infinitive, or a clause).
2.
having, proceeding from, or showing a high opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, or superiority.

Biblically the word “proud” is never used as a positive. In fact it’s almost always used to describe those upon whom God’s vengeance is due. Pride is the root of most sin. It is the sin I suffered mightily from before conversion. The definition in view here is the second, “opinion in one’s own dignity, importance, or superiority.” When one thinks of oneself as higher then God, we face judgment.

Biblically the closest I’ve found to the first definition of the English word “proud” is the word “pleased” as used in Matthew, Mark, and Luke to describe how God feels about Jesus (from Luke3:22, King James): “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Strong’s defines the word used there for “pleased” (εὐδοκέω in Greek) as “to think well of”. Though I suspect, just from the context, that this English definition might not quite capture the strength of how God feels about Jesus. I think this type of “pleased” is probably a type of righteous pride. It’s proud that wouldn’t be deserving of judgment because it’s really a type of love.

In the 10-15 minutes before the birth of Ruth Hazel when Dorothy was really suffering and starting in her words to “freak out”, she kept saying “I don’t know” over and over. I knew that birth was imminent that one or two big pushes would result in the birth of our daughter. The pain was very intense for Dorothy and I could barely help her because I was starting to cry so much. As our daughter finally broke through and was finally born I wept to the point of almost sobbing. Dorothy looked in amazement the pain already gone (at least temporarily until her doctor began to clean up her birth injuries) and kept saying “Oh my gosh” and then the baby was on her chest she kept saying “Hi honey, oh honey”. I continued to cry so much I could barely see her. Later I realized that feeling that brought the tears was joy, to a degree, but the overriding feeling bringing those tears was pride, the first definition, the εὐδοκέω, for my wife. She had suffered at times mightily for almost 8 hours and already loved our daughter and had forgotten the suffering just moments after the birth.

I can’t recall ever feeling that way about anyone or anything. I certainly have never had εὐδοκέω for anything I have done in my life. Of any of the many “major” graduations I’ve had, getting a first job, buying a first house, I’ve felt thankful and I’ve felt relieved, but never really felt type 1 proud. The closest I’ve probably come (at least to my sleep deprived memory) was when my mother finished her 3 day 60 mile walk at age 50. The crowd, a packed stadium actually, was roaring for all these (mostly) women and I knew how my mom would be feeling down on the field as she entered the stadium and I felt a lesser degree of the εὐδοκέω at that moment for her.

Now over two days out from delivery I’m still somewhat choked up at times with type 1 pride for my wife. Being sleep deprived for 3 straight days helps make me more emotional, for sure. Today I have love for my wife like I haven’t felt ever, because of this amazing sense of pride in her. The picture below I think is tied for or perhaps even the most beautiful picture I have of her, the other being 1-2 amazing pictures of her from our wedding day. Now along with that love and beauty I have in my wife I have the same for my daughter. I now have a real “family”, which is such an amazing feeling. I am the proud papa.

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

You Complete Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWAlvWNZj0

Jerry MaGuire got it wrong.  I actually sort of like this movie, but I think this scene stands at the crux of one of the problems I think exists with our view of love in America.  “You complete me”?  That’s a real problem.

Let’s break two competing views of love into mathamatical equations, because it makes it easier to explain where I’m coming from.  The first is the Jerry MaGuire view on love which I call 0.5 + 0.5 = 1.  The “you complete me” phenomenom of “I wasn’t whole before, but now that I’ve met you I’m now whole.”   Do you start to see the danger of this view on love?   How can another person rely on someone else who they have no control over to complete them?    Mathamatically it’s also dangerous because you are taking two people that don’t consider themselves whole and asking them to make one whole.  That sounds like the road to disappointment and co-dependence to me. 

Before I became a Christian I really think this view of love made sense to me because I didn’t feel whole.  I was a 0.5 and I could feel it and it hurt.  I assumed that I would find love or fullfillment outside of me and that would make me complete.  I tried to fill up that hole through booze, the search for love, acedemic success, among others.  A common path for those that don’t feel whole.  It led to more pain because that hole can’t be filled, it’s more like a black hole and the more you try to fill it the greater it’s mass and pain become.  Then after becoming a Christian and the hole being filled- those other pursuits lost an amazing degree of interest to me.  I felt whole.  The Lord or likely the Holy Spirit was what I was missing and the pain went away.  Now I was whole.  At  times I still fell back on bad habits of “searching” for something that wasn’t there, but eventually met my wife and it was around the time we were dating that I began to think about this problem of “you complete me” love.

So the alternative theory on love is 1 + 1 = 2.  You take two completed persons and turn them into something other, something greater then themselves.  If one of those people dies, disappoints/leaves the other, etc you are still left with a completed person.  Personally I think that completion should come from the Lord and I think the strength of my marriage rests on our being redeemed by something other than ourselves.  One of my old pasters put it something like “if my wife had to rely on ME to be a good person, she’d be in big trouble, luckily the Lord is on her side” (quotes to designate a thought not my own, that’s not even close to a quote of what he actually said).

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 5:21 pm  Comments (2)