Posts Tagged ‘ Protestant ’

Jack’s Baby Dedication: Faith and Parenting

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Six months.

A few weeks ago on Mother’s Day, my wife and I had Jack “dedicated” at our church.  If you are not familiar with this Protestant practice, a “baby dedication” is a public ceremony where the parents of a new baby promise, in front of the pastor and the congregation, to grow up their child in the faith.  As Jack’s parents, it is our responsibility to lead and guide him in our own moral and spiritual beliefs.

My son will not be left on his own to figure out who God is and why we believe that God’s love is the reason for our existence. Sure, Jack will have to make up his own mind when he gets old enough, but my faith is so crucial to every fiber of my being, that as a father I believe that one of the most important tasks I will ever have is to teach my son about the next life, as well as, teaching him to love others as himself in this life.

While I do value the public act of dedicating my son to the building up and growing of the heavenly kingdom we believe comes after this earthly life, the private version happened before he was even born.  As Jack was still in the womb, I prayed for him. And now that he’s here, I continue to pray for him. After all, I believe that I haven’t simply brought another life into this world, but that I am also responsible for bringing another soul into existence- a soul I am unmistakably accountable for teaching what I believe is the meaning of life.

Whether you have been following my daddy blog since the beginning (April 13th, 2010) or whether you just recently started tuning in thanks to Parents.com picking up my series, something noticeably undeniable yet decently subtle in my writing content is the intertwining of my family’s everyday life events and our Christian faith. According to Wikipedia, nearly 80% of Americans identify themselves with Christianity (from Catholic to Protestant, and everything in between).  So I would assume that nearly 80% of readers will identify with me when I write about my faith.  For the other 20%, who have a different religion or maybe not one at all, please know that I welcome you just as much to The Dadabase.

Because no matter which faith we call our own, something we all have in common is that we are parents.  We have children who we are trying to raise the best we can.  And just like the faith of our choosing, so parenting is also a journey.  By no means do I have my faith 100% figured out- I’m being humbled and broken down more everyday, and therefore maturing as a believer.

Just like, as a parent, I’m learning as I go.

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God Only Knows What I’d Be Without You

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Six months.

There is a reason why the sentimental song “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys  is always playing in the back of this dad and husband’s subconscious. Truthfully, I have to acknowledge that the days of my life are ultimately numbered; as are my wife’s and son’s.  And that’s why I just can’t take one single day for granted.

If I’m being really honest, I might have to admit the song has at least made my eyes water more than once or a few dozen times, but only because of the deep and heavy subject matter that it always makes me think about. And I may or may not be the only person who has the same kinds of thoughts when I hear the song; I don’t know.

It ranked #25 on Rolling Stonelist of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Released in 1966, the song was one of the very first pop songs to reference God in its title, though it was not necessarily a religious song.  No doubt about it: “God Only Knows“ by The Beach Boys has remained one of my favorite songs, ever since I first heard it twenty years ago on the 1991 episode of The Wonder Years, entitled “Heartbreak.”

While its nostalgic mood and melancholy emotion are what have always grabbed me, it wasn’t until a few months ago when my wife and I decided to watch the entire series of HBO’s Big Love (via Netflix) that I began to consider the value of the lyrics.  The show features “God Only Knows” as its theme song, so a few times everyday for a few months, I was exposed to the powerful song.

It’s very possible to love “God Only Knows” without actually understanding the meaning of the lyrics.  Admittedly, the lyrics do seem to be a bit confusing and conflicting. For example, the first line is, “I may not always love you but long as there are stars above you, you never need to doubt it-I’ll make you so sure about it.”  Up until recently, I just assumed the speaker was doubting the future of his relationship with the woman he loved at that point in his life.

But the only conditional phrase in the sentence is “as long as there are stars above you.” The reference is to the love of his life still being alive.  If the stars are above you, you are on Earth. If the stars are below you, you are in Heaven.

So as long as the two of them are still alive together on Earth, he will always love her. Because despite the grandiose idea that two people can romantically love each other forever and be married eternally, the popular rabbi Jesus taught his followers that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” Though it’s difficult for me to grasp and to deal with, I realize I will only romantically love my wife in this life, not the afterlife as well.

So much hangs on that phrase “as long as there are stars above you,” when looked at from an eternal (and Christianized) viewpoint.  I want to be married to my wife forever, not until one or both of us dies.  So when I think about how my romantic love for her is limited to this life and this Earth, it makes me sad.  And the song “God Only Knows” always points that out to me.

There is one other particular line in the song that I thought was peculiar: “If you should ever leave me, though life would still go on believe me, the world could show nothing to me so what good would living do me?”

My interpretation is that the lyricist is saying suicide would not be an option for him if she died before he did, but in essence, life would lose its flavor and he would have to essentially find a new purpose in life.  Because she is his life.

I think about that concept; probably nearly everyday.  Yes, I have been blessed with my ideal wife and one magical son, but for how long?  I don’t sit around and worry myself sick about them, knowing that any of us could encounter an accident or random freak medical condition or unseen poisonous spider bite.  But in the deepest of subconscious ways, there is a part of me that does always worry about something happening to them, or myself.

I just can’t imagine my life without my wife and my son.  Yes, my eyes are watering as I type these words.  So what can I do?  I can make sure through my actions, communication, time, and presence, that they know how much I love them. That they are truly, literally the world to me.  With or without the stars being above us.

The Dadabase

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