Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Recovering Wimpy Kid

My name is Shane and I'm a recovering wimpy kid. "Hi, Shane." Okay, so I wasn't the most athletic or the most popular in junior high, but my smokin' hot wife and adorable kids don't care, and I don't care, either (excuse me for a moment while I speed dial my therapist). So when I first saw a book entitled "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" as I wandered through Target, I was compelled to peruse. And after reading the first few books, I thought, "This guy has captured my adolescent days!" and, "Dang, why didn't I write this first. This guy's a millionaire now." Then along came the best book in the series, the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself-Book." Yeah, so what? I'm 40 something and I bought it. And I not only bought it, I did it myself, and I finished it, including the journal portion in the back! I filled out the "Practice Your Signature" and "List Your Injuries" pages.  I attached my photo wherever it said "Attach your photo here." I got signatures from my friends and family on the "Autographs" pages. So what, who cares? I even named one of my "Make Your Own Comics" strips, "So What, Who Cares?" Some of my other comic strips were named "The Couch Kids," ""Life with Catwoman," "Butch, the Bible Boy," (based on a real-life kid from Junior High who brought his Bible to school every day), and "My Funny Dad," a charming strip where a young girl asks her dad for a bedtime story and he responds with, "Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was so tired she didn't need a story. The End," (Based on real events in our home). I have been questioned if this was the best use of my time. When my kids pick up my wimpy book and ask if I've done anything new and ask for their own and already have ideas and plans to fill it out, then I think it's been very productive. Sometimes it pays to be a wimpy kid... FORMER wimpy kid.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We'll Have Nun of That

A few weeks ago I made a hasty retreat to the Carmelite Monastery on Benton Street here in Santa Clara. I just needed to go and be with God and this is a beautiful, tucked away place that is so quiet and picturesque (so I also brought my camera). I was open to hearing from God. I could use some divine direction. Not opposed at all to God writing on the wall or splitting the skies open to communicate with me. I kind of prefer the obvious. So I headed for the chapel, a beautiful sanctuary that is very ornate, much like the churches I've seen in Italy, only smaller. I brought my friend iPod along to add to my prayer and worship experience. I turned the volume up just enough so it was almost background music because I wanted to sing along and utilize the incredible acoustics in that room. I joined in with the first song rather quietly, yet worshipping, but realized this place was made to be filled with the praises of our God, or so I thought. I put on an old worship classic, "I Stand in Awe," and I decided I was going to let it rip! I sang my brains out and listened to the mix of the music in my ears and my voice reverberating off the walls and ceiling. It was quite the audio experience. I was putting on my own private concert for God and I was digging the sound effects. Who knows how long I would have stayed there singing, but in walks a little old nun, sweet as can be, approaching me with just a little trepidation, and informs me that the sisters were going to be starting their prayers soon, so could I pray quietly to myself. "... but you have a beautiful voice!" she added as she clasped her hands to her chest. Uh, thanks. So I sat down and wondered if I should be embarrassed just a little. Nah. It isn't everyday you get complimented and shut down by a nun in the same conversation.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don't Forget the Wisdom

Some have said the TV show "Don't Forget the Lyrics" was created for me. I would agree. So when I saw there was a chance to audition, I got really excited. I have a friend who is a casting director and she was looking for people to audition for this very show. I contacted her and she guaranteed me a spot to try out. I just had to drive down to L.A. The thought of it, singing random songs on national TV and a chance to win some moolah, and hanging with Wayne Brady!...  I was getting pumped. Couple hurdles to jump through, the trek to the Burbank area, finding a place to stay for the night, getting my wife's blessing! When I pitched it to her, she said I could go. Once in a lifetime thing, right? Just crazy enough, gotta try, you never know, what if...?
    For family church, the girls wanted to learn about King Solomon so I taught them about his request of God for wisdom instead of riches. I added that God promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1). That night, as I prayed with Marty before bedtime, wisdom came walking into our room right in the middle of my prayer and interrupted. I had one of those "checks" people tend to get. As I anticipated the audition, I started thinking of the bigger picture. I'd be leaving my wife to take care of all three kids by herself, which is a lot to ask of her in this season of life. And what if I made it on the show and I had to sing "Pour Some Sugar On Me"? I'm a pastor, and though some may say "Lighten up! It's just for fun," I realized I did not want to contradict what I teach and believe by singing some song lyric. As wisdom sat on our bed listening in on our prayers, I said to Marty I decided not to go to the audition. And I have not one iota of regret about it.
     Even when all lights are green and every door is open, don't forget the wisdom.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Waiting for Dad

     I'm not working right now, as in getting a paycheck for services rendered. There's laundry to do and a house to clean and kids to care for, so there is work, but the rewards that accompany that kind of labor aren't reported on my tax returns. And since I'm unemployed (there, I said it), my kids see me a lot. They're not used to not seeing me. The other night I was out practicing for a gig I had coming up. I got home at an hour when my children are usually sound asleep. Marty said Julia, my 7 year old, was waiting up for me. I entered the girls' room and looked upon my kindergartner, Ella, zonked out, and Julia, semi-upright in her bed anticipating my arrival.
     "Hi, Daddy."
     "Hi, Babe. What are you doing?"
     "Were you waiting for me?"
     "Okay. Good night."
     "Good night."
     After a bedtime smooch, she turned over and fell fast asleep.
     That morning I had read Psalm 101. "I am finding my way down the road of right living, but how long before you show up?" (The Message). After tucking my daughter in, I discovered in this season of unemployment, I am just a kid trying to do the right things and now I am  semi-upright in my bed, patiently waiting for Dad. I'm reading, I'm praying, I'm talking to people who can give me insight into my future career, I'm finding my way, but how long before my Father shows up? And I don't really need Him to walk in the room and answer all my questions and hand me a job on a silver platter. I just need HIM, His presence, His assurance. I just need my Father to come home and tuck me in so I can turn over and sleep peacefully. Yet, as soon as I am aware of His presence, He is home...  and I can rest.