We’re off to be with family in the Great Northwest so I thought I’d leave you with the above photo. It’s a shot I took from a plane of Mt. Rainier. If there’s one thing that defines the great state of Washington, it’s that mountain. They’re hard core about their mountains up there… bunch of mountain snobs.
That’s all from me… have a great Labor Day Weekend.
Last night I had a strange dream. I stole a car from a high school friend — actually it was his dad’s car. I then proceeded to drive as fast as I could towards the nearest freeway entrance as an escape route. Everything seemed to be going great — no traffic (which is rare in L.A.) and the entrance was a straight downhill slope, just perfect for my needs. At first the entrance looked normal, but as soon as I made a right turn to jump on it, the road turned to rocks. These weren’t just little pebbles, these were boulders. Of course this piece of junk Oldsmobile bottomed out and there I was stuck on four or five large rocks not about to go anywhere. I’m pretty sure these things just popped up right out of the ground, because I’m telling you — I might be dumb enough to steal a friends car, but I’m not dumb enough to drive it over the Rocky mountains overpass. So after getting my bearings back I figured I’d unbuckle and get out the heck out of there. But unfortunately, that’s not where it ended.
Lately I’ve been having some really odd dreams, but it’s not just the dreams that are odd — it’s what I’m doing in real life while my imagination is out of control. In the past two weeks I have woken Bethany and myself up three times because I’m audibly proclaiming these dreams. No, I’m not speaking full sentences, I’m just basically yelling. The first two times it happened I remember just wanting out of my dream, so I thought I’d yell. I guess they were more like nightmares, but I don’t remember them like the one I had last night… which is where we left off.
After I unbuckled to get out of the car that I had just destroyed, I turned to open the door and BAM!…some crazy grandma lady was all up in my window yelling and screaming. I vaguely remember her wearing a muumuu and being of Asian decent, but don’t quote me on that. I guess she wasn’t happy that I was now blocking the entrance to the freeway and when you’re in L.A., that’s just not cool — not even for grandmas. And that’s when I start yelling really loud. I mean, c’mon — how would you react if some wild women was trying to attack you? It freaked me out! Thankfully, I woke my wife up with my audibles and she was able to wake me up before things got out of hand.
Don’t ask me where I get this stuff. I promise I’m not watching late night Sci-Fi or fighting with any of the many grandmas here in the old folks home where we live. But I am starting to worry that my reactions are going to escalate and freak my wife out more than I already have. So if you see Bethany around you can joke and laugh about my strangeness, but be sure and give her a nice hug and reassure that’s she doing the right thing by waking me up.
Today wasn’t a normal day for me — I worked on my wife’s car. I’ve never really been “Mr. Fix-It”, but I was willing to give it a shot today. For a few months now we have been forced to get in to Bethany’s 20 year old Toyota Corolla (which I call “Black Magic”) from the passenger side. The door handle on the driver’s side decided it didn’t feel like working and we’ve been perplexed as to how to fix it for some time now. But after months of this annoying problem, I decided that today I would fix it. Actually, it really wasn’t all that hard and if it were not for the learning curve of how to disassemble a car door, it probably wouldn’t have taken that long. Thankfully I have 2 fathers (birth father and father-in-law) that were able to guide me through some of the processes to keep me moving forward in my mission. With only about 3 hours of work — including driving to a from Pep Boys twice — I finally got the door fixed, put back together, and the wife is quite happy. But the point isn’t that I fixed the car, it’s really about dads.
My dad really was Mr. Fix-It. I’m convinced that man could fix anything and everything that is mechanical. I’ve seen him take engines apart, air conditioners, thermostats, dishwashers and many other items and put them back together in a functional fashion. The same goes for my father-in-law. He too is a very handy guy and though I can’t say I grew up seeing him fix things, I’m confident that he could get the job done if need be. I guess it just comes with territory of being a dad. And as I drove around town today picking up parts and getting the right tools, I felt like a got a glimpse of being a dad. Dads do things because they love their families. They also love accomplishing tasks and getting jobs done — that’s probably a guy thing too, but mainly it’s a dad thing. Dads have to be able to think outside the box and get creative when they don’t know what they’re doing. They have to be able to learn on-the-fly and act like they know what they’re talking about to the “super knowledgeable” sales guy at that auto parts store. They have to be confident in front of their wives and convince them that the car door will actually work again and that the scratch they just made on the door isn’t noticeable or already existed. Dads have to take their Saturdays off and work the yard, fix the car, mow the grass, clean the garage, etc. Even today when I called my own dad for help he was out in the yard and I quote “taking these 1/2 inch weeds, loading them in a wheel barrow, and putting them a big pile so I can burn them.” That’s just what dads do.
I know tomorrow is Father’s Day and many will celebrate with gifts and big meals, which is great. But can I urge you to thank your dad for the many hours he spent putting bikes together so you could ride with your friends. Thank him for playing catch with you so you could learn to throw the ball just right. Thank him for going to work at 4:30 every weekday so you could live in a house and play in the yard that he mows. Thank your dad for taking care of your mom and bringing her flowers, cards, chocolate and remembering their anniversary. Thank him for showing you the way to hold a screw driver, start the grill, hold a baseball bat, and chop wood. Don’t forget to thank him for showing you how to fix a leaky faucet and at the same time, how not to fix a leaky faucet. Thank dad for buying you cleats, shin guards, and a soccer ball so you could go to practice equipped. Thank him for taking you to “urgent care” when soccer practice didn’t go as planned. Thank him for showing you how to tie a tie, drive a car, and how to apply for a job. Thank your dad for whatever you’ve learned over the years that you are just starting to apply in your life. For me, it was fixing a car door, but for you it might be something different — either way, you know you wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.
I met some of my family for the first time on Sunday. Without going through a long, drawn out explanation, it really wasn’t the first time, but it might as well have been. It was probably one of the largest sibling gatherings that I have seen, other than my grandpa dying. It was nice to visit with them without the death of our grandpa looming over our heads. Plus, I think I was 16 when that happened, so being a few years older helped. Nevertheless, the night was enjoyable. We ate a great meal that one of my sister’s made, played foosball with my nephews and brother, and got to talk about what has happened in the past ten years.
I didn’t grow up knowing some of my family. It’s not a choice that I made, nor do I think it’s any one person’s fault. But I feel that experience has skewed my view of what family looks like. That’s definitely an area where marriage has helped. I have been able to see and be apart of my own family, as well as see the inner workings of my wife’s family. Sure, every family has their quirks, but family is probably the quirkiest. But for about two hours, last Sunday night, I sat in a room with three sisters, one brother, one step sister (sort of), and at least five of my nieces and nephews.
After my wife and I left, I called my dad. Of the children he has raised I am probably the closest with him, and I wanted him to know what had occurred. My hope was that it would encourage him — that it would bring joy to his heart to hear of his children being together. I believe it did. His initial reaction was surprise, which then lead to realization. We talked again on Monday, and he was still in shock. He said he sat in his easy chair for a few hours after I called him that night and just thanked God for what had happened. Hopefully that gives you an idea of how big of a deal this was.
You see, I want to know my family, but I’m scared at times. Though these people have the same blood as me, I don’t know them anymore than I know the President of The United States. But the Lord has opened a door for me. In fact, it’s wide open and I feel like I just took a step in and looked around a bit. It still seems dark in this room. I can barely make out the faces, but I know they look familiar. Maybe if I step in all the way, and grab a flashlight I might be able to make contact with those dimly lit faces. Nevermind, just flip the light switch…