“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Hasn’t everyone been asked that question at least once in their life? How many people wake up one day and realize they’ve grown up, but they have no idea what or WHO they are? Some people are blessed enough to get a second chance. As I am 45 days from hitting the big 4-0 I can say that I am one of those fortunate ones.
The diagnosis of an incurable disease is too much for the mind to comprehend. So is the phone call from the hospital that your daughters have been in a jet ski accident and one of them is being air lifted to the hospital. I am learning that tragedy brings clarity. If your house catches on fire while you are inside you learn very quickly which items are important and which ones are not. There is something in our God given DNA and instincts that gives us this hyper focus this clarity. The stress also releases a whole lot of cortisol which can cause weight gain, but that’s a story for another day.
Everything in and about this world robs us of our clarity. Ever seen an 8 year old boy try to choose which ice cream flavor he wants? We are surrounded by choices and distractions. Things happen. Often times, bad things happen. I have told people many times over the past few months that some days I was just trying to put one foot in front of the other. Through a fog of confusion and doubt we try to find something, anything to cling to, to occupy our minds, or to get us to that next step.
That’s why faith is so important. The love of Christ is an amazing anchor in times of crisis, but even above that it is the compass that guides us to the “what” and the “who” we want to be when we grow up. I am a very blessed man because in the past few months and weeks all of that has been laid out in front of me. I know exactly who I want to be, what I want to be, and the how is coming together nicely. That’s why I want to give you the gift of clarity with this post.
People are always asking me, “what can I do for your family? How can I help?” Consider this your answer.
1. Pray for us by name. That’s Heath, Karen, Milena, Charis and Drake. Pray that we are all filled with the Holy Spirit and love God, each other, and our neighbor’s in a way that inspires people.
2. We deal daily with the reality of Huntington’s Disease. Educate yourself by spending 10 minutes at http://www.hdsa.org. Pray that God’s grace is abundant in this area of our lives.
3. Engage with my wife. She’s always on Facebook. Friend her. Message her. Get her phone number and text her. Tell her you care. Treat her like a living breathing human being. Do not tip toe around her and do not allow her to retreat into a cocoon. Understand that isolation is huge when dealing with Huntington’s. Refuse to let my wife isolate herself. This may be unsettling and uncomfortable, but it will not be unrewarding.
4. Guide and correct my kids. If you are a follower of Christ point them toward him. Treat them like normal kids. Love them unconditionally. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings if you need to report their behavior to me. Don’t feel like you’re betraying them. Take them to get ice cream(Drake will eventually decide on a flavor.) Talk to Drake about wrestling and help him hit and throw a curve ball. Do girly things with the girls. Feel free to just take one them at a time. Help the twins develop their individuality. Braid their hair…I have no idea, but just do girl stuff.
5. Ask me if I ate a whole jar of salsa last night before writing this blog post. Also ask if I’ve been exercising. Don’t tell me I look like I’ve lost weight. Smack soft drinks out of my hand. Do not take me to a pizza buffet. Tell me to mix in a salad every now and then. Don’t joke with me about my weight. Be tough with me. I’ve heard all the fat and short jokes. It’s not funny anymore. I’m on Facebook and Twitter.
6. Let me interview you. It can be about anything. You tell me what you want to talk about and I will tee up some great questions for you. It can be for my wrestling podcast, The Double Dropkick Show, or the discipleship podcast help with at Groundswell. If you like wrestling then we’ve got lots to discuss. Same with discipleship. I’m passionate about both. I’ve got some other podcast ideas in the works that will scratch an itch I have. Hey, I don’t play golf. I watch wrestling, podcast, and I like to interview people.
7. Come see what God is doing at our church, Oakway United. God has given me so much clarity recently about why I love being a rural pastor and what it will take to successfully minister to the diverse needs of our community. Join us as we try to bring hope to a county that is plagued by poverty, abuse, and addiction. Help us love people and build the kingdom. I hope and pray that I can be the pastor the church needs and deserves as they have showered our family with unspeakable kindness in our time here.
8. Come hang out with our family. I know that no one has time, but we have to make time. Join us for a lively game of UNO, a critique of our favorite movies, a board game, hamburgers, and whatever we can come up with. We’d love to spend a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night with you and your crew. Just know that once a month we might be indulging in a wrestling PPV on the WWE Network. We also like going to the movies and to Six Flags, but we are pretty easy to please. Just understand if we’re not quite ready to return to the lake just yet. It’s easy for the 5 of us to retreat to our own spots in the house and escape for a while, but I’m sure you wouldn’t know what that’s like. Back to that whole isolation thing. It something any family dealing with an illness has to overcome. You can help us do that.
9. Did I mention that you could pray for us?
Perhaps I will print this out and carry it around with me. Perhaps you will too? “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Why don’t you join the adventure and see for yourself?