At 5:58 this morning, I woke up to you yelling outside my bedroom, “It’s a pink bunny! The one I always wanted!”
Yes, you woke up, before the sun, and discovered your Easter basket.
After Mommy and I watched you officially unpack your Easter Spiderman bucket, then it was my turn…
Yep, I turned 33 today.
I admit it almost seemed a little bit wrong celebrating my birthday on the same day designated by Christians as the day to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.
Yet at the same time, it’s pretty interesting because, from what I understand, Christ was 33 years old when He was crucified and resurrected- and here I am, turning 33 on the day that is celebrated.
My birthday was never been on Easter in my lifetime, until today.
So right after you checked out your Easter gifts, I unwrapped my birthday gifts from Mommy- which were perfect, by the way:
A $10 “lunch money” gift card for Whole Foods, two vegan chocolate bars, and a Groupon for Mommy and me to go whitewater rafting on our 6th wedding anniversary in July, while Nana and Papa watch you all day.
Mommy is just so thoughtful.
I had a great 33rd birthday today, even if it means it’s the last year of me being in my “early 30s.”
Being nearly a third of age 100 is fine by me. I feel young… and I know I’ve stil got plenty to learn as human being, and especially as a parent.
You’ll be my age in 30 years. My plan is that these near-daily letters I write to you will help teach you about life lin general, not simply just recap your own life with snazzy collages and cleverly captioned photos.
Great birthday, great Easter.
Your Auntie Dana made you and your cousin Calla some homemade “vegan chocolate peanut butter bunnies” that I think made you cuckoo, as it appears from this pictures.
And if you’re wondering why I’m sitting at “the kids’ table” with you two, it’s because you politely invited me to join you.
So I did.
I ate lunch with the 3 year-olds, instead of the adults.
That was very nice of you to think of me, Son.
Of course, after you celebrated both Easter and your daddy’s birthday, you needed some rest.
Talking you into taking a nap today was unnecessary.
This past Saturday morning, we hung out with some of your friends from school, at Home Depot. While the project was assembling a wooden race car, you were actually much more excited by the free, endless supply of balloons.
Despite the ongoing “balloon fights” (like a pillow fight) between you (the only boy) and the three girls, there was no crying. Just good clean fun; hitting each other in the face with balloons.
I really enjoyed the show!
Mommy and I let you bring three of the balloons home. Mind you, these are just plain balloons that I blew up myself- no helium.
Later that day, after you woke up from your nap, we bought groceries at Kroger, where Mommy and I have let you get into this (bad?) habit of choosing a new Hot Wheels car each week (hey, it’s just 98 cents).
However, when I let you check out the cars selection, a blue cheetah doll caught your attention instead. Fortunately, it just so happened that this particular blue cheetah was in the wrong section and the tags had been removed.
I took you to the general manager to find out how much it cost, and for you, he agreed to $ 2.99. You must have charmed him, because had it had the price tag on it, it would have cost $14.99.
You still had enough Christmas money to afford it, so you bought it; and boy have you been proud of “Cheety” since then.
So Saturday night, as we were getting ready for dinner, I walked by the coffee table and caught you “writing” (scribbling) on a notepad with a yellow highlighter.
You were quietly “reading” out loud what you were writing:
“Thank you for my balloons and blue cheetah…”.
Once you realized I had heard you, you stopped. I was way too curious not to ask you what was going on.
“Jack, who are you writing that letter to?”
I almost already knew what you were going to say- and I was right:
I can’t argue with your logic. If it weren’t for God, we wouldn’t have balloons or blue cheetahs.
I won’t quote the whole thing here, but the last few lines of it really stood out to me:
“Two thousand years have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that have ever marched and all the navies that have ever sailed and all the parliments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this “One Solitary Life.’”
It’s pretty fascinating to me that if Jesus wasn’t who He claimed to be, which is the Son of God and the predicted Messiah of the prophecies in the Old Testament, then He was simply the most famous and influencial deceiver to have ever lived on the earth.
That means He’s fooled millions of people in the past couple thousand years. That means, back in His day, he caused quite a political uproar over… nothing. In that case, it was all just a hoax.
As C.S. Lewis famously put it, Jesus is either “lunatic, liar, or Lord.”
But again, if He was simply a crazy man or false prophet, He’s the most famous and influential one there’s ever been, to simply have been just a man.
Or, Jesus really is who He said He is, and He’s still the most famous and influential man who has ever lived.
This is the same man who this time of year is better known as the baby born in Bethlehem.
The way I look at it; even if at the end of my life I was wrong about God this entire time and when we die, we just die and that’s it, I still wouldn’t regret having believed. Because if nothing else, I had a sense of hope amidst all of life’s uncertainties.
Throughout all the traditional Santa and reindeer stuff we enjoy this time of year, I’m still distracted by the Jesus part of Christmas.
If Christmas was simply about candy canes and snowmen, and still managed to be this big of a deal to everyone, I would really be questioning why we celebrate it.
But I know the basis of this holiday season is deeper than that, and even more than just “the spirit of giving.” It still comes down to a baby in a manger who went on to live the most famous and influential life… ever.
And as I raise you to believe in Him, if He was really just a liar or a lunatic instead, I guess that makes me one of those things too.
But I got addicted… and after that first time, I decided to officially change my format of writing about you, to where I write to you.
Exactly a year has passed since that night I sat at our coffee table and cried so hard, realizing my love for you.
Tonight, I’m less emotional in that sense. Instead, I’m feeling fully grounded in how I feel about you and how I understand my love for you.
Instead of a groundbreaking ephiphany, today I simply am grateful for the gift of peace of mind and heart; a gift the world can not give.
In this moment, that is my life. I think of that song, “On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons, to describe how I feel about you and me:
“I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.”
I’m pretty sure we have the same basic struggles and weaknesses as most families out there; despite the religous affiliation.
It’s just as easy for me to crop out the rough spots for social media, as the next parent on Facebook could- and instead, post a geniunely positive photo for everyone to see, as if the cloudy and stormy days never happened.
A strong marriage and family provides a more stable support unit for the good, the bad, and the ugly that makes up what life is all about. To me, that is real love and real life.
I also mentioned in my letter the importance of being the kind of love we want to receive. I told how love isn’t easy; it’s hard work, a true investment- not simply a given.
While others could surely and easily disagree with my wording, that’s how I see it.
And now, as I write this today, there’s a related blog post that is going viral. It’s so viral, it’s currently impossible to look at my Facebook news feed without seeing at least a half a dozen people of sharing it in any given hour.
The author, Seth Adam Smith, is not a famous writer; at least, if he wasn’t a famous writer before, he’s probably becoming one now. He managed to publish a simple, yet revolutionary idea that is totally resonating with people I know.
In the post, he quotes his father’s words of wisdom:
“Marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children… Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
So perfectly said.
I think that like most people, I went into the article thinking it was going to explain that certain people just aren’t good at, or ready for, being married.
Instead, he totally surprised me with a fresh concept: Marriage isn’t for me.
This Seth Adam Smith guy is on to something. I’m going to be mindful of his (and his father’s) words for everyday of the rest of my life.