This is one of the best music videos I’ve ever seen. Hilarious!! And way too true for me.
The other night I was reading to Kasen before he went to bed. He chose one of his “song” books and so I started singing. For the first time, he decided to join me and sing along. Miranda captured the moment here. Pretty funny stuff. It was actually kinda hard for me to keep singing ’cause all I wanted to do is laugh. I especially like the way he pauses before his last note.
Philippians 4:7 says that the peace of God transcends all understanding. I don’t understand it either, but I’ve experienced it. First of all, you should know that the Hebrew/Jewish understanding of this word “Peace” ultimately comes from their understanding of the word “Shalom.” It was a word used as a greeting, but it was so much more than “hello.” (Shout out to my “Cardinal Rise” friends – they wrote a song called “more than hello”). Anyway, “Shalom” was not just “peace.” It was all-encompassing. It was like saying “God be with you!” – May God Himself, in all His glory, shadow your every move granting you His favor and blessing throughout your life. “Peace” was huge!! It was a colossal concept of walking in the constant blessing and favor of God.
OK – on with the story. Sept 11 was normally a happy day for me. Sept 11 is my birthday!! But Sept 11, 1996 was different. (So was 2001) That day I received a call from my mom wishing me a Happy Birthday, but there was another message too. She also said that my dad had been diagnosed with leukemia. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew it wasn’t good. I soon discovered that it was the most aggressive type of leukemia and that dad would be going through radiation and chemotherapy. They weren’t sure how long they could deter the disease. That year was strange. I lived 5 hours away but got to see him quite a few times. He was always the same dad I had always known except he didn’t have quite as much hair. Although I know he had his down times, he had a great attitude about it around me. He even wore a baseball cap with dreadlocks hanging out when he’d go the the hospital. Mom said the nurses always laughed.
The doctors arranged for dad to be on an uphill swing during Christmas break so we could take a ski trip together. We had a great time – like normal – but not so normal either. There was always something sort of hanging in the air. It seemed harder to breathe during those days – not just for dad, but for all of us. In June of 1997, my sister and I were with a bunch of youth on a houseboat in the middle of Lake Texoma, when the boat rental people radioed to us with the message to call mom. Dad was on his deathbed. We immediately drove to the hospital in Ft Worth.
When we arrived, dad was on the breathing machine. He had contracted pneumonia and they couldn’t treat it because his body was so weak. They had also given him medications to paralyze him so his body wouldn’t fight the breathing machine. We wouldn’t be able to communicate. . . well. . .we could talk, but he wouldn’t be able to respond. Over the next 3-4 days (It’s a blur – I don’t know how many it actually was. Some of my facts may be wrong, but this is how I remember it.) we took turns going in and out of his room – telling him the things we should have said long before or just sitting with him in silence. I spent lots of time in the hospital chapel. There were lots of tears, little sleep, phone calls from friends, and something else. Something surprising. It was peace. What?!?!? at a time like this??? Peace? Yes. . . .peace. Peace that passes understanding. I cannot describe it. I only know I experienced it. . . . well, I experienced Him. Jesus was with us – in the midst of the tears, the sadness and grief, Jesus was present.
Eventually the doctors came and said the time had come to turn the machine off. It would be his one last chance to fight and breathe on his own – a chance to live. I can still picture the scene so clearly (and it’s been 12 years). I stood at his side and held his right hand. I told him that I loved him and that this world had not treated him well. (There’s another long story there.) I told him that he should go and be with Jesus ’cause this world was just not worth coming back to. I said goodbye. And. . . . something I never expected. . .dad squeezed my hand. Overpowering the paralyzing medication, he squeezed. He heard me! He knew what I had said! He loved me back! He agreed! Dad was still with us. . . . moments later . . .
Today, he is still with me. As I father my children, I do so by the examples I learned from him. As I love my bride, I do so in ways that resemble his ways. My dad was my Indian Guide leader, my little league coach, the parent who yelled the loudest at the swim meets. He took us on vacations and spent hours teaching us how to play sports, how to build things, or just simply playing with us. He loved us by being with us. I want to be that kind of dad. One who will truly invest in the lives of his family.
The words “Rest in Peace” resonate within me in new ways today. Dad has found ultimate “shalom” – I hope to follow his example. I hope to find it too.
Miranda, Kasen, and I went camping this past weekend with my family. All the Corns and Underwoods met together at Possum Kingdom Lake. It was great! Here’s a link for some of the pics. Memorial Day Pics. The downside is that a bunch of the pics aren’t here ’cause the camera flew into the lake. The little tether cord broke and . . .well, it went into the lake.
Anyway, one of the moments that stuck out to me happened while we were on the lake after the camera went overboard. My brother bought a tube to pull behind the boat that was over 8 feet in diameter. It was huge. Anyway, at one point the kids just wanted to let it float in the middle of the lake and play King of the Hill. It was like having our own little American-Gladiators-style sumo-wrestling match. When all his kids were on the tube, Roger, (my brother) dove off the boat right into the middle of them. Instead of being the parent who forbid his kids to wrestle, he jumped into the middle of it and played right alongside them. In that moment, I saw my brother transform into the image of my dad 25 years earlier, and I dreamed of the day that I’d do that same sort of thing with Kasen. It was a beautiful moment.
By the way, I also saw my brother-in-law, Schonn, bantering back and forth with the kids – threatening to make them fall off the tube just like my dad would have done too. It was great fun!
My dad has been dead for years, but he went with us to Possum Kingdom Lake this past weekend. My dad is alive and well inside each of us. I could almost hear his voice as we sat around in our chairs under the clear night sky. I saw him on the lake and in the boat.
I love you dad. Thanks for playing such a big role in our lives – even now. You have certainly left a legacy to be proud of.
It’s amazing watching Kasen grow up. It seems he does something new all the time. I never imagined that I’d ever find myself lying on the floor cheering for someone to roll over, but. . .it’s me. . .I’m that guy! I try to celebrate it all. This past week, he’s been rolling over more and more often – from his tummy to his back and from his back to his tummy. He even passed a little toy from one hand to the other and back again this week, but the biggest news: Can I hear a drumroll???. . . . . . . ………Kasen slept through the night in his crib all week long. 8:30pm ’til 7:30am – 11 hours!
Thank you God for my incredible son. I’m amazed every time he looks into my eyes. He actually cringes at the joy that rushes through his veins when he smiles in those moments. How could I deserve such an honor? Thank you God! How can I live my life “smiling” like that at You? Lord, hold Kasen closely. Keep him healthy. Show Miranda and I how to be great parents and raise him in ways that honor You. Lord, I’m praying for Kasens health and that he comes to know You one day, but I’m gonna ask even more. Lord use him. Grow him into the kind of man who You can use to glorify Your name! AMEN.
I had some thoughts today – Miranda and I started our life together with a dance on our wedding day. Pretty early on in our dating life, we danced together. As we start this new part of our lives with Kasen, it kinda seems like another dance. We’re still learning the steps, and how to move together, but it sure is a fun song to dance to. And I’ve got the best dance partner in the world. I feel like I’ve been writing and praying about the kind of dad that I wanna be, while all along, Miranda is already everything a mom should be. She’s been so good with Kasen. I am so blessed to have her and I’m having lots of fun watching her “mommy-instincts” kick in. She’s incredibly patient and functions really well with almost no sleep. She continues to provide a beautiful home for us and smiles every time I come through the door. (Well, almost every time.) I like calling her “my beautiful bride” and today she is still the most beautiful girl in the world. The same girl I danced with on my wedding day. I see it as my job to help her realize how beautiful she really is. Someday, I’m gonna get her to say the words, “I’m beautiful.” and in that moment, I will have been a part of something really incredible – she will finally have seen herself the way the rest of us have always seen her.
Lord as we learn these new steps together, please be with us. We’ve already shed a few tears and I’m sure there are more to come, but we’ve also known You’re with us through it all. Comfort us. Give us patience with one another. Send people into our lives to bring encouragement and love. Hold us in Your hands God – close to Your heart. As Miranda holds Kasen, let us realize Your presence and closeness. Lord, on our wedding day, we had a multitude of people pray over us and I claim those prayers today over our lives. I’ve never felt closer to Miranda than I do right now, but I also know that things will never be the same. As we make this transition, guide us. Show us how to not only maintain a healthy relationship, but how to grow it even as we are being pulled in other directions with Kasen. God, we need You. We trust You and we will walk with You. Hold our hands and go before us. AMEN.
The rocks in the vase to the right are the rocks from our wedding day. Each one was held by a friend or family member and a prayer was said for our relationship and marriage. This vase sits on the table of our entry way so that each day we will be reminded of the love and support of our friends and family as we strive to live out the promises we made to each other on that day. With the addition of Kasen to our family, I am claiming by my friend Evan’s “transitive property” that these prayers were also for him.
Sunday, I started a new leadership course. I’m not sure how I’ll be graded or even what is required, but I do know that this class will continue for the rest of my life. It’s not one that I can spend a few hours on each week either – it’ll require total commitment. The class I’m referring to of course is fatherhood. Kasen was born Sunday night and so I’ve begun this new journey. It’s much more than a leadership class, but that will be at least part of it.
He taught me how to play baseball. (I’m actually left-handed, but play the way he taught me – right-handed.) He coached my little league teams in football, t-ball, and baseball. He read stories to my brother and I at bedtime. (That’s me on the left with the dark hair.) He showed me how to “play” and that adults could “play” too. He laughed alot and showed me how. He taught me how to do woodworking stuff. He taught me that families need to do long road trips together.
He taught me so much more, but you know. . . . .as I think about it, I realize that it’s not so much the outward things he taught me or did for me that I’m most grateful for. I’m most grateful for the example that he gave me – for his character. My dad taught me about God – not by talking about Him, but by loving me unconditionally. As he shouted and cheered for me on the football field, I understood how much God loved me and cheered for me. He showed me forgiveness and I learned about being childlike (as Christ calls us) by watching him play with my friends and laugh with us. I’ll probably never understand the depths of my dad’s influence on me and on my perception/understanding of God. My dad truly led me, but most people who knew him probably wouldn’t have called him a leader. He led out of his character and through his relationship with us. His leadership is evidenced in all three of his children. My brother, sister, and I, all work with kids and love serving God by guiding and leading/influencing others. I pray that I can be like him. I want to lead others to know God not just with my words, but by the way I live.
This new class I’ve started is one that millions of men have registered for throughout the centuries. It’s probably the biggest opportunity to influence a life that any of us will ever have. I wish the world recognized it’s importance – too many men have failed. I want to be a man who does not fail – one who truly places this leadership role as a priority.
Prayer: Lord, show me how to “be” – Who to “be” – and give me strength/courage/and whatever I’ll need to “be” what you’ve called me to “be” in this role as “leader” of my family and child. PS – thank you for the incredible blessing of Kasen! Cover him with Yourself. Protect him from evil. Guide Him to a knowledge of Your son Jesus Christ. Allow me to be a consistent presence in his life that represents You to him. Bring other people into his life who will lead him to a deeper/saving relationship with You. AMEN!
PS – I had an incredible experience this weekend as Kasen was born. I cried tears of joy over and over. The one thing I cried sad tears about was that this experience made me remember my dad again. (He died of leukemia.) I thought about things I haven’t thought about for years and wished he could have been there with us. I wish he could look into Kasen’s eyes, and I wish he could play football with him and read stories to him and roll around in the front yard being silly with him. I guess this is God’s way of saying to me that I should be intentional about doing those things. I can’t imagine that anyone ever gets to the end of their life and regrets the time they spent playing with their children – I certainly won’t – I will play just like my dad. (Doesn’t that make you smile? I know it makes dad smile, and I’d be willing to bet that it makes God smile too.)
When I was really little (like 4 or 5 years old) my parents took my brother and I on a vacation to Galveston. We lived in Oklahoma at the time so it was the first time I had ever seen the beach. I don’t remember a whole lot, but I do remember playing in the water right next to the beach. I also remember watching all the “big” kids playing out in the “big” waves. Like most kids, I wanted to be a “big” boy and play in the “big” waves too.
I asked my dad to take me out there and I remember how he helped me get out to those waves. (The waves probably were just over my dad’s waist, but they were way over my head.) Anyway, I remember holding his hand and how the waves would knock my feet out from under me and throw me around, but that my dad would never let go of me. Even when I couldn’t hold on to him, he was still able to hold me.
This story is a picture of the verse in Ephesians 4:14 that says, When we become mature in Christ, “we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men.” I think about how God can hold me when things get out of control and that if I live my life with Him, it’s like having my dad right there next to me. When the “big waves” hit, He can keep me safe and with Him, I’m able to venture out into the deep waters of life. With Him I can even look at the waves coming toward me and not feel scared, but even a little “playful” as I enjoy the ride with Him.