Missing the Bus

Image taken from wikipedia

It doesn’t happen too often at our house, but this morning….it happened.  My youngest daughter, a sixth grader, missed her bus.  Not challenging enough that it comes before any educational juices are flowing (for teachers and students), but today she came early.  Instead of the normal, barely-heard-the-rooster-hour of 6:36am, she had the nerve to show up at 6:33am!!  My daughter just does not think this should be!  And for some reason that I don’t understand, my daughter HATES to miss the bus.  Not sure if the status has changed for 6th graders riding the bus, but this is close to the crisis of the ipod/iphone being below 10% charge, or worse yet, Netflix being down!!

Anyway, we strategized, and she wanted me to run her, in my car, to her friends house.  So being the good dad that I am (pat back here), we hopped in the car and ran around the corner.  To her dismay, the bus had just ended its stop at her friend’s house, and was continuing on with the route.  My hero instinct was to give chase and get my little girl what she wanted….to ride on the bus.  Suddenly, I felt this searing stabbing pain in my arm.  It was my daughter digging her nails into my arm, as she reprimanded me, “Dad, don’t!  Just turn around!”  Not wanting to escalate things, but not quite understanding school bus riding in the current day and age, I slowly turned the car around and headed home.

My daughter’s day was on a crash course with disappointment.  I have learned that many times, this is not a time for a lot of words.  So, we went back into the house, silently, I continued to get ready, and told her we would leave soon to get her to school.  She grunted and kept her head laying in her arms on the kitchen table.  I found myself praying asking the Lord for wisdom on how to positively move my daughter’s day forward.  Not that I was responsible for making her day better, but being willing to be a part of making that happen if I could.  Then, the Holy Spirit jolted me, and said that is what discipleship is all about.  You can’t save anybody.  You can’t make anybody’s day better.  You can’t fix their cancer.  You can’t heal their marriage.  But you can be willing to be a part of investing in that person, and contribute to them seeing their circumstances as temporary, and demonstrate your willingness to see them through it, and provide encouragement along the way.

Jesus continually made his ministry about meeting people where they were.  Sometimes he was the miracle worker, and sometimes he was the encourager.  He healed the blind man’s eyes, but he healed the soul of the woman caught in adultery.  He brought hope.  He led with love.  He was willing to roll up his sleeves and invest in the lives of people who were hopeless.  He understood the stress of missing the bus.

I drove my daughter to school nearly 10 minutes later.  We rode in silence for the first several minutes.  “Lord, help me disciple my daughter,” I prayed.  I turned on the radio to the local Christian station and the Matthew West song I blogged about the other day came on.  Here is that post if you missed it: It Happened Again.  The song is called “Day One” and it talks about this being the first day of the rest of your life.

So, as I pulled up to the school I said to my beautiful little girl who was having a rough morning:  “Three thoughts for the day today.”  She rolled her eyes.  “Number one.  “Sometimes you miss the bus.”  She raises her hand as if to say, “Dad, really?”  I promptly continue, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  She gives me an obligatory smirk kind of letting me know that she is thinking…”I see what you did there, dad.”  Thought three: “I love you!”  She took a deep breath combined with a sigh.  Tilted her head to the side as if thinking.  Turned to me and smiled the most gorgeous genuine smile and said, “I love you too!”  My little girl hopped out of the car, slammed my door (which she always does whether happy or sad), and with a bounce in her step, went into school waving and smiling.

In that moment, I felt God smile.  Not because she was my daughter and I had magically made things better for her.  More for the fact that I was able to be willing to invest in her well-being, not feeling like I needed to teach her something about how not to be late for the bus, but to lead with love and encourage her, and ensure that she is ok and it was all going to be Ok.  I believe that approach is at the heart of discipleship and I hope I can get that right with more people, more often.

Would it be wrong of me to make my daughter miss the bus again tomorrow? 🙂

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It Happened Again…

Several weeks ago I blogged about hearing the same song over and over, whether it was when the alarm went off, or hopping into the car, etc.  Last time it was the song “Exhale” by Plumb.  You can read that blog entry HERE if you missed it.

image taken from clipart.me

This time it was “Day One” by Matthew West.  Make sure you take a listen.  The video is cleverly done as well.  I am just going to go ahead and post the lyrics in case you don’t have time to listen:

Well, I wish I had a short term memory
Wish the only thing my eyes could see
Was the future burning bright right in front of me
But I can’t stop looking back

Yeah, I wish I was a perfect picture of
Somebody who’s never not good enough
I try to measure up but I mess it up
And I wish I wasn’t like that

I wish I wasn’t wishing anymore
Wish I could remember that nobody’s keeping score
I’m tired of throwing pennies in a well
I gotta do something
Here goes nothin’

It’s day one of the rest of my life
It’s day one of the best of my life
I’m marching on to the beat of a brand new drum
Yeah, here I come
The future has begun
Day one

Well, every single day Your grace reminds me
That my best days are not behind me
Wherever my yesterday may find me
Well, I don’t have to stay there

See my hourglass is upside down
My someday soon is here and now
The clock is tickin’
And I’m so sick and tired of missing out

It’s day one
And here comes the sun

Every morning, every morning
Every morning, mercy’s new
Every morning, every morning
Every morning, I will fix my eyes on You
Every morning, every morning
Every morning, mercy’s new
Every morning, every morning
Sun’s coming up, the beginning has begun

Starting over, I’m starting over
Starting over, I’m starting over, starting now
I’m starting over
Starting over, I’m starting over
Starting over
Starting over, starting now
I’m starting over

Wonder what it would be like if we started each day with this attitude.  I am tired of throwing pennies in the well.  His grace does remind me that my best days are not behind me.  Every morning His mercy is new.  If you didn’t need to hear that today, I sure did.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.

 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”                           (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Today is Day one.  Read this again tomorrow and the next day and the next…

Gospel Legacy

I was listening to NPR this morning. (For those of you under 30 that stands for National Public Radio).  The commentator was recounting an interview he had just had with current president of Notre Dame, Rev. John I. Jenkins.  They were discussing the legacy of Notre Dame football and how it effects the school.  President Jenkins then said “…if and when college players get paid for playing, I will pull the Notre Dame football program from the college football business.”  With a smirk that literally came through the radio dial, the commentator retorted, “Sure Father.  Just like they will take the Ivy off the Wrigley Field outfield walls and remove the pinstripes from the Yankee uniforms.”  This pricked something in my brain.  What creates a legacy?

What makes something an institution unto itself?  That even though it may be a part of a larger organization or system, in these cases football and baseball, that the larger institution would suffer without it’s presence (and maybe not suffer, but have to go through some change process that would involve feelings equivalent to grief or loss).  I mean the legacy of the ivy at wrigley field goes so far as a man came dressed in ivy to the game.

In doing some very basic research about the legacy of the three “iconic” topics above, I didn’t find anything earth shattering.  Notre Dame football seemed to get put on the map when then player, and later coach, Knute Rockne helped introduce the forward pass to the game at the turn of the century.  This seemed to be a big deal because Notre Dame used this new “weapon” to defeat a highly regarded Army team at West Point.

Image taken from ssebaseball.com

The ivy on the wall at Wrigley was not a first, but was the brainchild of  risk-taking owner Bill Veeck, who did some “out-of-the-box” things during his career in baseball. (Disco Demolition Night).

And the Pinstripes worn by the Yankees.  Although many think it was to hide the girth of Babe Ruth, the uniforms were actually adopted the year that Ruth was starting his career as a pitcher with the Red Sox.  A quote by Derek Jeter from Mlb.com tries to explain the Phenomenon: “[It’s the] history,” said Jeter, the Yankees captain. “That’s not being disrespectful to any other team, but you say pinstripes and the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is the Yankees. There’s just so much history there and tradition, it makes it special for us as players.

So it seems that how a legacy is created has to do with a few parts tradition, a splash of circumstance, a smidgeon of creativity and risk, a pinch of perseverance, and a whole bunch of courage.

So I wonder?  How does one leave an effective Gospel legacy?  How do we get to a point that when someone says our name, people think Christ-like.  When someone says Notre Dame, most will think football and shiny gold helmets.  When someone says Ivy covered walls, people will think baseball in Wrigley Field.  And as Jeter mentioned, when he says pinstripes, people think Yankee baseball.  So again, I wonder how we get to the point where someone says Insert your name here , people think Jesus.

John 13:35 is a verse that keeps coming back to me.  It simply says. ” Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  So it was his love for the cubs that caused that man to wear ivy to Wrigley Field.  There is a sense of adrenaline that comes from sliding on the Yankee pinstripes.  What if we consistently wore some fruit?  Things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  I think our legacy would gain momentum.  I think discipleship would become a natural byproduct of that lifestyle.  I think the Gospel would be spread.

You’re on deck.  They are calling your number for the next big play.  What is your legacy going to be?