I remember once going on a trip with a friend of mine to Illinois to check out a church that was growing like crazy. We went to church, took a tour of the facilities, then went and spent Sunday afternoon/evening at the pastor’s house. I remember as we were coming down from the busyness of the day, we were sitting on a set of couches, and talking about life. As we talked, the pastor made a statement that was somewhat off topic, but more than anything else, stuck with me. He was holding his little girl, and he said, “When you have children, you realize that life is bigger than yourself. It’s the greatest thing that can happen to a person.” I remember wondering if my world was selfishly limited to only myself. I didn’t think so…but I surmised that there was no way to really be able to answer that with absolute honesty.
Well, a couple of years later, I am sitting at my desk, typing this blog, as the two ladies in my life take a nap. The past week has been a difficult one. Ella has had some difficulty adjusting to life outside the womb, and this has forced us to plan and revolve our week around her tiny schedule. Last night, though…was beautiful. Everything came together. She slept, and ate, and pooped like a newborn should. Ella was happy. E and I were relieved. As the night came to a close, and while I lay in bed, book in hand, I began to think of my life and all the lessons I am starting to learn in this first month of fatherhood. Over the next few
days, weeks…well, whenever I have the free time to write, I’ll share a few things my little girl is teaching me.
My happiness is fulfilled in sacrifice. You would think that this one would be a no-brainer. Seeing as I’ve been married for nearly 2 years to a wonderful woman, and considering we’ve spent a great amount of time working on a lasting, committed relationship that we hope to see last until we each hit triple digits, one would think I should have this whole, “self-sacrifice” thing down pat…but I can’t say I’m much good at it… yet. I hope to get there someday- I would just be lying to say that I’m already there.
Lately, I find myself being frustrated by Ella’s lack of consideration for my needs. (it’s okay to shake your head at that…it is pretty ridiculous, I know) So often, it seems as if Ella only poops her pants, or only needs to walk/sway when I get my book out to read (which has not been very often as of late), or when E and I sit down to watch a TV show. It seems inevitable that I will reach for my book, find my page, chapter and line, and just as I am in about 3 words deep, she will start to stir…soon, her stirring builds to crying, and the book has been closed once again.
Through all of this I am realizing, though, that my happiness is deeply wrapped in this little girl. Sure, it’s the popular thing in our culture to say that, “we should go out and find our own happiness apart from anyone else.” We should be selfish, and do what makes us feel right, or feel good. However, over the past month, I am finding more and more that my happiness is found, first in Christ, and then in the love of family. The care I can offer Elizabeth and Ella, the sacrifices I can make for their collective good, and the support I can provide offers a level of happiness that material “things” could never provide.
So, when I make my coffee, open my book, find the page and paragraph, just to have Ella cry and see my coffee go cold, I am thankful. I know that I have a wife that loves me, and a little girl who steals my heart a hundred times a day. I am blessed in a way that I could never buy. This happiness has no monetary value.