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Friday, September 21, 2012

Hang on, boys. We're coming.

I can't show you the pictures of my sons quite yet, not until our court date on Oct. 22nd.  You would understand better the impulses I feel to move heaven and earth to go and get them right now if you could gaze upon their faces.

Something about seeing them standing there with their names taped to the front of their shirts makes me feel like they are prisoners waiting for someone to post bail.  I say "gaze upon their faces", but the painful truth is that their faces are already semi-faceless.  They have surely bounced around enough by now to realize the concept of home or parents isn't in their deck of cards, let alone their hand.

They stare at the camera with a far away look in their eyes, the older one (Joshua) especially.  He is about two and a half and every time I see his face his eyes look hollowed out.  Don't get me wrong, his eyes are big and brown and beautiful...soft and gentle and kind...but the pilot light is flickering, weak and weakening the longer he floats in transition, stays in borderland.

The baby (Caleb) is about 7 months old and has much more life in his face, but even then, the few pictures we've been blessed with show a lostness that pains me.  Every day that goes by I wonder if anything else will "get to him".  Days mean everything in these formative seasons of development and it makes me wonder what traits and tendencies are being forged in this temporary "holding pattern".

I don't question that they are being loved by someone right now, but it is not my wife, myself or my girls.  I feel so removed from their goings on and powerless to affect change or influence development. Each night as I set my alarm on my phone and plug it into the charger, I see their faces and am reminded to pray for them.  My first thought each night that I either whisper under my breath or say into my own head is "Hang on, boys.  We're coming to get you.  Hold on."  I know that's not a prayer, but I'm hoping the Spirit can take that limping language and translate it into protection and provision.  My anchoring thought is that God is fathering them and He will watch out for them as any good dad would.

The days are dragging along and with every day I feel a stab of fear that we are losing precious time as we follow due process.  The long and short of it is that they are there and we are here and that is just increasingly unacceptable.

Join us in prayer for our sons...

"Hang on, boys.  We're coming for you."

Friday, September 14, 2012

The bachelor, the hunter, and my storied history...

I'm a bachelor for a few days while Heidi is gone for the Women's Retreat.  While the cat's away, the mice will play.

Oh, speaking of mice, one of my projects while Heidi is gone is to hunt down a mouse that has been using our silverware drawer as its restroom.  She cleaned out the whole drawer before she left and said, "Get to Meijer, get some traps, and get the mouse before I get back home!"  Yes, babe.

Hunting mice is one of my favorite hobbies.  There is something about looking for droppings, tracking their whereabouts, setting the trap and checking it when you get home that makes me feel like I'm an old trapper from the 1800's or something.  Or better, like a cattle rancher trying to catch that darn wolf that keeps picking off beef cows in his helpless herd.  The rush of hearing that snap or opening that drawer and seeing your prey caught in the act is invigorating.  (I'm exposing how unmanly my job is as a pastor, aren't I?)

For those who've know me a while, this reminds me of a "Mouse hunting" story from yesteryear.  I thought I'd repost it in hopes that the next couple days will lead to the same bounty hunting exploits.  Enjoy my trip down memory lane to the year 2005!
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I went hunting...

ok, for those that know me, I'm not the hunting type. Sure, I love the woods, but I've never caught the hunting fever. I used to serve as a dog for my friend Art when we went rabbit hunting. I would climb my athletic carcass on top of brush piles and jump until Thumper came out of hiding just in time to be ushered into glory by my buddy's 12 gauge...rabbit glory that is. Other than that, I've done very little hands-on hunting...until two days ago. I hunt...I'm a hunter.

Early on Tuesday morning I moved my body off the matress to exercise my dominion over the beasts of the field. Honestly, I was still half asleep, but it didn't take long before I was wide awake with adrenaline pumping blood through my veins at an accelarated velocity. The habitat where the hunting would convene was ripe with fresh signs of life. Fresh droppings were everwhere...almost steaming in the cool air. I saw a hunter pick them up one time to find out how recent they were expelled from the huntee. I thought better of it though I was fascinated by their uniformity. You could almost smell the wildlife in the air. I wondered if they were even watching me from a distance. I could tell I was in their world.

My heart started to pound a bit as I prepared my weapon. For some reason I still get scared of triggers. It's like I don't trust myself or something. After my weapon was loaded (I like using the word loaded...it sounds more primal), I positioned myself in the blind. I knew where the majority of the activity was taking place among these creatures; I had studied there patterns closely. It's funny...animals think they are smart, but when you're hunted by a college graduate...you don't have a fighting chance.

I waited until I heard the sound that put the fear of God in my fingers. I could hear the movement, but couldn't see the creature just yet. I had heard of this rush before, but you can't know the heart pounding thrill until you're in the fat middle of this moment. Just then, before I even knew what happened, the trigger went off and I was standing there wondering what to do next. I was stunned. By now, the pounding in my head and heart was so loud, I thought I would scare off the rest of the pack.

I calmed myself down and then moved toward the sound off rustling and shuffling. It sounded like a downed critter break dancing in a pile of leaves. I knew that I had at least maimed the beast. I didn't know whether to smile or wince as I rounded the bend. I took a deep breath and to my amazement the creature was laying still on its side. Twitching with its stomach heaving up and down like he was on life support. This is the point where you freeze in fear.

Should I touch him? Should I let him be for a while? Should I bash its head to put it out of its misery? She I say the Lord's Prayer over his cooling body? Should I talk to it to see if it responds to sound? I did what any warm blooded homosapien would do in such a predicament...I blew in its ear. When I did, he jerked and spun around looking right at me as if to say, "So you're the one who did this to me." Instantly, I was filled with grief. The kind of grief that you feel at the funeral of a stranger...disturbing, but not deep. I backed away trying to communicate nonverbally to the poor creature. In my mind I was saying, "This is just how it had to be, you understand don't you?" His eyes swore at me. I turned away and looked for a sackcloth and some ashes.

Finally he gave up the ghost. I was sure I heard him whisper in his dying breath, "Father, forgive him, he did not know what he was doing." How did he know? I'm sure my novice tendencies were written all over my flush white face.

I moved toward my kill and touched it. The stiffness was already settling in. I hunted. I killed. I emerged a stronger, more able man.

Such were the exploits of my hunt...I stood on the neck of my prey and said, "In the world of men and mice, mice will always perish."

The world has one less mouse. Don't mess with me. I hunt. I'm a hunter.