Distracted After Four Weeks
On the way to drop my daughter off at school this morning, we were going through our traditional morning chat; telling stories, counting numbers, rhyming words, etc. A few minutes from the school and Nora interrupts the conversation, "Dad, I want to tell you something. [she gives the most serious pause] I'm really proud of you and I'm glad you're going to be healthy again. I really love you.” It was just four weeks ago today they took out the lower lobe of my right lung and a 5x9 centimeter mass of sequestered lung tissue. We have really tried to protect the kids throughout this season of ill health. They’ve stayed with only a few select people to maintain a sense of continuity and security. We’ve been open and honest with them about what is causing my health issues. Yet, you can never know how much of an emotional experience a one year old, three year old, and five year old can absorb. How are they processing it?
When I awoke this morning I started thinking about the things that I though about right before I fell asleep; the problems that arise at a job when someone is absent for a few months, the sermons that need to be developed and thought about, the lack of knowledge of certain areas that should be remedied, how I haven't led well in the last season, etc. On top of this, I think about the friendships that I’ve not properly nurtured and the people in my life that haven’t gotten the best of me in the last few weeks, months, and even years. My grandfather told me not long before he passed, "Nate, we [the Loucks family] are our own worst enemies. There's no one that disappoints us more than ourselves. But we're especially bad to ourselves right before bed." We are existential cannibals that eat ourselves alive. Perhaps it's that we are reminded that there is only so much time to live life and too much life to be lived.
Who knows what was going through my daughter’s mind this morning that she would find it necessary to remind me of my value to her. Nothing in our conversation was leading to that point being made. It was more about what rhymes with "clouds" and "snow" and "car." But, ever since she opened her heart this morning to her dad, I haven’t stopped being grateful.
For my sons.
For my wife and her compassion and care.
For my friends who I see often and those I haven’t seen in too long.
For the doctors that have given of their time to see that I get many more years with my family.
For the cold air I felt in my lungs when I stepped outside.
For the warm coffee that contrasted the cold air.
For our old house that gives us shelter from the cold.
Today is four weeks since my surgery and without my daughter, I would have been too busy to notice. What a fool I can be. I hope one day Christ will resurrect my subconscious enough to allow me to not always have laser-like focus on tomorrow and to allow today to be good enough. These moments will never be able to be lived again. If that day never happens, I’m grateful for a little girl that brings me back into today’s reality and lessens the anxiety of tomorrow. There will always be things to fix, brokenness perpetuates itself. Today I'm not going to allow the brokenness of this world rob me of the ability to see the signs of grace I have been given.