For the last several weeks I've been pondering a disturbing thought: Am I getting boring?
Laugh if you will but for a man like me this is a pressing issue. Am I becoming more refined as I age or am I careening toward being labeled predictable for my indulgences?
I have always been a man who could pride myself on being a stand-alone thinker when it comes to the things that I choose to surround my life with. I consistently opted for different stuff than what people would expect, and always steered clear of the crowd mentality when it came to almost anything… food, drink, music, cars, career choices… even relationships for me were unlike my NEPA peers!
Let me prove my point with some concrete examples: I have an unabashed of love Japanese food, you can easily win my heart with a perfect Southern Comfort Manhattan, I stop cold when I hear early '90's country (and Dave Brubeck), a black 1979 Trans Am can literally make my knees weak, and I'm a radio DJ… dear God I even married a woman who's from South Carolina (as opposed to a girl from the good ole NEPA)! All different choices from what the average person you'd see at the Viewmont Mall would have opted for!
But as of late I find myself becoming a bit more basic in my choices… am I losing my MOJO?
but I prefer the word streamlined to describe my thinking these days: The restaurants I frequent are few (but great), the clothes I wear are usually always black, I love a well shaken So-Co Manny (rocks please), I enjoy the back deck of our house as opposed to a bar stool, and I require only the curve of my wife's smiling face to help me recover from a less than perfect week… you see simple, and kinda scary.
Yes, I may be getting what some would call a bit boring these days, but if there's one perfect gift that time gives us it's peace… and I feel it a little bit more every day.
I wonder if traveling with family is harder for the kids, or really the parents?
I'm flying to Atlanta for a family event this weekend (my cousin's Bar Mitzvah), and my husband Ethan and I had a hard time deciding whether to take the kids. After I realized my 3 year old would be charged like an adult ... flight price-wise, not as a criminal...but feels the same looking at these ridiculous rates!...we decided only two members of the family will take the venture. Obviously we can't leave the toddlers home alone to fend for themselves, so here's the final decision:
My 3 year old, Cole, and I are flying to ATL...he can't wait to wear his "dancing shoes" and "favorite outfit" (suit) for the Bar Mitzvah <3 Ethan is staying home with our "adorably unpredictable" *sigh* 18month old, Lyla. (she's a screamer...who needs that on a plane...or at the synagogue.)
My biggest hangup wasn't about the plane, it was about whether to rent the toddler car seat for the car rental, or schlep my own. Many "don't rent the disgusting car seat with the car rental" comments are still ringing in my ears, but, I'm taking my chances (and testing my OCD to the max!); unlatching and relatching/securing the seat in the rental was stressing me out more than a used car seat lol!
Now I just have to remember to bring the coloring books, fruit snacks (chewing to help ear popping), Pull-ups.... and make sure he doesn't drink before flight so I don't have a meltdown in the nasty plane bathroom. Me. Not the curious 3 year old that has to touch everything .... better bring saniwipes, too.
Wish us luck on Cole's 1st (and my 1st with a lil one!) Flight!!
With Easter upon us, I thought I'd share a story of faith… re-found.
I'm not going to lie… I was always partially unplugged from our church. My parents were devout in their faith and weekly attendance to our chosen house of worship, but me, I was what you could easily describe as lack luster at best. I felt like it might be uncool to be as faithful as my parents were… and that's where my latest life lesson was set into motion.
As a kid I started out strong in my weekly show of faith, mainly because my parents gave me no choice in the matter, but began to fade as the years went on, and eventually got to where I could count the dates that I'd been warming a pew in single digits… and that was based on a multi-year span of time.
Our church, like many scores of others, had a significantly older population and was typical for turning over a pastor every 4-5 years, it was discouraging. It also, being and old school Baptist church, was pretty strict on dress code (or maybe that was just my mom who made me put on my Sunday best) but a tie was suggested and so was a sport coat. Uncool.
Time passed, workloads got bigger and later into the night, and my interest in being religious went flatly numb. I found myself talking to God less and less, and for me attending church was a thing of the distant past.
Strangely I didn't even notice the changes that were taking place in me since taking the cool guy exit ramp. I was not the same person anymore; I felt no shame for being an absentee to faith and prayer. I went from asking for strength and being thankful for simple blessings to wondering why I felt so lost and frequently alone… it should've been obvious to me that I had left the high road a long time prior, but it simply wasn't… until a random Thursday evening family dinner.
Erika, Piper and I seldom eat as a family (something my parents did nightly) so when she suggested that we "dine at the table like normal families do", I jumped at the chance. I cooked, she set the table and Piper helped me serve. We sat down, draped the napkins across our laps and prepared to dine… but as I reached for my fork my wife intercepted my hand, held it tight, then reached for Piper's and bowed her head and began praying.
I sat there speechless, listening as she spoke the words of thankfulness for our little family, and warm home, and the food that was on the plates. As she spoke I could feel the vibrations of her voice resonate in my hand; it was humbling. I peeked over to see a smiling 5 year old; unaware of exactly what was happening, but somehow knowing that she was feeling the peace of the moment and the powerful calm of grace.
I could feel my face flush in that moment of self judgement; I hadn't prayed in months. Right then I knew that I had drifted away from being a person of faith to being an unstable fool. I felt embarrassed that it had taken a simple act of being thankful to our creator for a weeknight meal that showed me how far I had fallen from my own spirituality.
I'm no saint, nor will I ever be, but I see now that I have some work to do. I may never be a consistent church goer, but I am sure that I do have to begin my journey back to a graceful life. Being cool included.