It has been far too long since I have posted an update here. I can assure you the time has not been wasted!
- In the third week of April, we helped move my Dad to his new home in Florida. We enjoyed having my Mom stay with us here at our place while she was in town helping out with the move. They did the big job of getting everything boxed up at the house. Then a small crew of us loaded up a 26-foot moving van, and the good ship Herron sailed off on a mostly southerly heading.
- During the last week of April I conducted my first annual whole house deep cleaning. I got behind the refrigerator and the stove, scrubbed walls (or decided to repaint), dove into every crack and crevice and corner, and did all those other unpleasant cleaning tasks that must be done (thankfully) at least once a year. The boys loved having the week mostly off from school.
- During the first week of May, I was offered a job by a previous employer, Jolly Plumbing, doing emergency and after-hours dispatching. It’s all work I can do from home and came at a time when I was feeling I’d like to take on some work if I could find something to fit around the higher priorities of family life and the boys’ schooling. This unsolicited job offer fit the bill perfectly, and Darah encouraged me to go for it. It has been a blessing so far, despite occasionally being awoken in the middle of the night to deal with an emergency call. (Since I used to be the guy who had to get dressed and go out to do the actual plumbing work on these, it is a lot nicer to just handle the communication and not have to leave the house at 2 am!)
- In the second week of May, I helped my father-in-law, Darrell, carry a bee hive box with a new swarm in it. The bees were mad, which isn’t terribly uncommon in that situation, and I got stung on the foot during the process. What is unusual is that I had a moderate localized reaction to the sting, which basically means my foot swelled up so bad I was unable to walk on it for the better part of a week. I have not had a reaction like this to bee stings in the past, so I am wary of how I will handle any I receive in the future. I may be giving the bees a bit wider of a berth for a while. Once again, the boys were delighted to have a few days in a row more or less off school.
- We had one other day off unexpectedly that same week, in order to attend the funeral service of Darrell’s best friend, Bob Adams. Darrell delivered a funny, sad, poignant eulogy that pointed to Bob’s, and our, great hope in Christ. Very tough, very good day. I was reminded how blessed we are to be able to go through times like this together as a family. Doesn’t make it any easier, but at least we can be a reminder to each other that we’re not in it alone. This was also the first funeral service the boys have attended that they are old enough to understand and remember. We had some good discussion about that as a family, too.
- During that same week (busy week!), I was offered the opportunity by my good friend, Bob Franklin, over at Main Street, to help plan and facilitate an upcoming father/son retreat. The timing on this was great, because I had just started working on some notes for a weekend retreat I’ll be taking with Kent this summer to celebrate his 12th birthday and his next step on the Way of the Warrior. The father/son retreat opportunity just gave me added motivation to hammer those notes out and start shaping them into some finalized form. I discovered during the process that I have a lot more to say on the topic than I realized! I have been working on this nearly every day for the last two weeks. I’m still getting everything into a more final form, and I am excited to share the results here when I do, in hopes that someone might find them helpful in their own parenting journey. What a great responsibility we have to these young ones who have been entrusted to our care!
- A couple times over these last six weeks or so, Darah and I have been able to take some time away from the kids (thanks to our relative windfall from my new job!) and invest in each other—dreaming about the future together, planning some fun things for the boys together, and just building into our love for one another. Some of that has been hard, some of it have been a sheer delight; all of it has been very, very good. Darah shared a John Piper quote with me once that has really stuck: “Marriage. The roots are deep. The covenant is solid. The love is sweet. Life is hard. And God is good.” That about sums it up. I love you, my friend, and cannot wait to experience with you whatever deliciously mundane adventures we get into next!
Needless to say, it has been a busy, productive, wonderful slice of full-on life since the last time I made the time to post in mid-April. Now that I am taking a moment to reflect on this period, I am reminded of that place in Ecclesiastes where the Teacher says:
It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
That’s been my experience here lately: So fully engaged in and enjoying life (even when it’s been rough), that I have no time or interest to look back with brooding or to look forward with worry. It is the condition sometimes described as “flow”, where you’re just fully in the moment, in that never-ending “now”, and there is no room—and really no need—for anything else. A gift from God, indeed!
I have a sense that our time in eternity with God and with one another may be something like this “flow”. If that is even close to the truth of it, even a foretaste of those good things to come, what amazing times we have to look forward to! I’m mis-applying it a bit, but I think the sense of wonder is appropriate:
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.