Some Pain is Worth It – The Orange Version

On night in March while I slept soundly, Becca woke me up with a shout and a nudge. ‘Baby’, she said, ‘my water broke.’ What transpired out of that was 12 hours of horrible contractions, crying, inability to sleep, yells for drugs, the realization of a backwards-facing baby and then finally, the birth of teeny-weeny Eliana Dorothy Chase.

(I should add this for clarification: Becca experienced all these things. Not me…I just held her hand, did what she told me and silently thanked God that men can’t give birth ;))

After the birth, there was the long recovery along with the adaptation to feeding, emotions and new found motherhood. A year and change later, Becca is still my hugest hero and she is an awesome mom. She showed me then and still does that out of pain, life can come and flourish. We also know that we’re in for some more pain as Ellie gets older (I mean she already has my personality, her mom’s sass, along with her own little attitude and gorgeous features…I am dead.) but out of those pains, her life will develop and hopefully follow God’s pattern.

Life out of pain.

This week, my team and I went to a conference in Hotlanta, GA where we learned about ourselves as individuals and as a team. The best thing we learned? That out of the pain of conflict, God can bring new life and truly tie a team together. I’ll explain.

During a meal moment together, I said the wrong thing (an ill-timed joke, which is a regularity. Fail.) and a deep, honest, & calmly heated conversation ensued.

But it didn’t get awkward. Instead, honesty flowed lovingly and humbly, feelings were expressed, apologies were made, forgiveness was chosen and friendship was declared. It was strangely beautiful. Out of conflict came a new desire for unity, honesty, respect and understanding.

Out of pain came life.

Kind of cool, I think.

Many of us fear conflict. Others love it because we love to push our weight and win stuff. Maybe…just maybe, we need to embrace conflict as normal and necessary for positive movement to transpire and for teamwork to become care and love.

There’s a guy who lived on earth once…the rumor is that he loves people so much that he faced their conflict and took on an illegal amount of pain so that they could have life…

If this rumor is true (and it is) I think that we need to face that pain and know that when dealt with as we’re commanded to, beautiful life (a baby, a friendship, a new-found purposed-filled team, etc) is born.

I like that.

What about you? Thoughts on conflict…do you like it? Hate it? Am I off? Out of context? Let me know!!


I Hate The Zoo

I hate the zoo.

Yes, I said it. And now I’ll repeat it.

I. Hate. The. Zoo.

I hate it for a number of reasons. One – Planet Earth. Have you SEEN that thing on Blu-Ray? That is crazy. I can’t go to a zoo and see a gazelle get eaten by a lion. But from my home, on MY couch I can enjoy God’s creation, put it on PAUSE, go to get a snack and then come back.

Two – Laziness. The zoo in Toronto is soooo long. And it has deep hills. And did I mention that I’m lazy? If I can’t drive it, I ain’t doin’ it!

Three – I don’t like sandwiches. Now you’re thinking, “what does that have to do with the zoo, Chase???” Well, the zoo food is expensive. Like ‘Sorry Ellie, mum and I can’t afford college for you’ expensive. So I’d have to bring a sandwich. And my ‘wiches never taste good. Too much mayo, too little meat. Urgh!

But my main reason is this: a few years back, Becca and I took her sisters kids to the zoo. On our own dime and we didn’t have much coin. They were old enough to appreciate it. They should have been marveled by the greatness and uniqueness of each creature that was on display.
They were pumped over a squirrel in a tree. Yah! I know, right! They see them all the time! They were also ‘captured’ by a deer that was running BEHIND the zoo. They used to live up north. They done seeeen some deer before. They didn’t care about the hippo, or the polar bear or cheetahs. They care about deer and squirrels. 75 bucks…

Now, I should have said, ‘well…it’s about the TIME spent, NOT the MONEY spent.’ Well…I’m not that good of a person:). And ever since then, I’ve hated the zoo. I’ve found it to be a waste of time and a reminder of a long, coin-evaporating day.

Now. My wife on the other hand LOVES the zoo. LOVES and wants to go there all the time. And for 3 years I always found a way to turn her down. Until she told me that she wanted our 1 year old to experience it (though I knew she wanted it more). And I realized how selfish I had been for soo long and how that bad experience ruined what could have been some great bonding times with her.

So…we went to the zoo. And as I thought, Ellie didn’t care at all (she did like the big fish though) but that wasn’t the point. The point was togetherness. Family. Love. And because I was with them, I had fun.

I still hate the zoo. But I love my family. And every so often, you gotta do what you hate to reach those you love.

Game, set, match for Becca Chase.

Anyone out there know what I mean?

Past invades the present…

Today I was at Starbucks when this lady walked in. Now I don’t know this lady…but I remember her very clearly.

A few months ago I was at this same Starbucks when she came in. She was behind me in line while I was making my order and chatting with the staff, something that we’ve done lots (So much so that I got a free coffee today, even though I shouldn’t have). Well this lady was NOT happy. And by not happy I mean full-on ghetto-curseword-hand-snap-neck-snap not happy, which was funny to see come out of a small white lady with a lip ring.

She wasn’t mad at me though (lucky for her!!!) but took a strip off of the girl at the cash, telling her that she would amount to nothing, that no one would like her or go for her, that she was a waste…all the things a mom would lovingly tell their newborn. And the girl just took it like a champ. She was deflated but took it. It was so bad that everyone who was working or waiting stopped whatever they were doing and listened in. You should have seen the kid’s face…so sad, so embarrassed. The lady then cursed her way out, reminding everyone about the ‘better’ Starbucks down the road and how she would never return to my third home.

Well, she lied cause today she was back. I saw her first then pointed her out to the others (such a drama stirrer I can be). My eyes grew bigger than that lady on Glee with the red hair. I got nervous because EVERYONE who was working then was back (world were colliding!) working today. The lady, i guess, forgot about what happened and talked to the same girl, asked for a coffee and left. While she was making her coffee to the perfect amount of “Gonna hate on someone” taste, I kept looking at the staff with a classic “can you believe it” face. Needless to say, she didn’t do anything wrong…besides wear pyjamas outside at 11 AM (If you’re a reader and do that normally, question: Why?) but it was funny how you could see the fear and sadness from that day creep back into every face and action.

The past teaches us for our present. Never fear it. Don’t look at it with a deer in the headlights face. Just sit in the front  the Starbucks and get ready to tell it off, then take her coffee and run.

That was my plan. Didn’t happen.

One day, I’m getting my Season 5 Jack Bauer on…

1 year ago

March 25th, 2010 - A Star is Born

On March 25th, 2010, our friends Gonzo and Kathy welcomed a new baby boy named Joaquin Hugo Jimenez into the world, joining their daughter Sofia. It was doubly cool because a year and 20 mins earlier, Eliana Dorothy Chase was born. What a difference a year makes. I thought back on how little the girl was (she was REALLY tiny) and how dependent she was on Becca and I. Sleepless nights, clothes changed due to spit up (that being said, i’d rather have milky spit up than big girl vomit any day…), newborn diapers, learning how to swaddle,and lots of imagining what a year from then would look like.

My how things have changed…clothes are bigger, attitudes are formed, milestones met (all on video too!), car seats changed, lots of hair (still only two teeth but that’ll change), more toys, more smarts, more Ellie! I think on how I’ve changed… and how she’s changed me. And I couldn’t think of her not being here. So it was super cool to hear and see close friends start that journey (albeit for the 2nd time) on the same day as us!

This past Good Friday, I had the privilage of standing next to Kathy and Joaquin with Ellie in my arms. We chatted for a few as people left the service (I, as always, said something awkward to someone, causing Kathy to bust a gut. Happy fail!) and I couldn’t help but think about how a year when by like THAT and how Becca and I have been better for it.

Happy Birthday, chick…and remember to save money for Joaquin’s 1st birthday:)

Still Shinnin' A Year Later - March 25th, 2010

Dodged Bullets

Have you ever thought about all the things that don’t happen to you? I mean, we complain about the things that do all the time (lost job, failed grade, unnecessary drama, lack of money, bad credit, etc.) but I tend to think that for all the things that we experience, there is a heck load of stuff that we don’t…and some that we should yet don’t. I mean we say and do dumb things yet sometimes the simple lesson of getting too close to the fire is enough.

There’s a story in the Bible about a guy named Jacob. Jacob is a lying, tricking, sad dude who learned lots of his traits from his mama (brings new meaning to Will.I.Am’s tune). Twice over, he plays his brother, Esau, for a punk. He robs him of some valuable stuff, then runs away for his life since his brother is a trained hunter (Think of Dog, the…except with Red hair…). It’s years before the two ever meet again, and while they are separated, Jacob has a few life lessons he experiences and an Encounter that forever changes his life’s course. We don’t hear much about his bro but we can assume that he wanted to get even…I know I would. Esau finds out where Jacob is and goes on the pursuit. Jacob naturally is scared for himself and the family he created (two wifes who were sisters, and a boatload of kids) but walks them towards their attacker. I can imagine he was thinking: “I shouldn’t have robbed him…why was I so selfish…he kills animals…he is going to kill me with bare hands in front of my sons, daughter and wives…crap.” Yet the craziest thin happens. When Esau sees him, he hugs him, forgives him and lets him live. Dodged bullet.

Why tell that story? For me, there are days when I don’t want to walk into my past (be it past years or even past holidays) for fear of what’s coming, or what should come or even worse,  what someone assumes I should receive. I feel frightened like Jacob knowing his brother is miles away yet walking right towards him. Old feelings creep in. Old ideas…old me. Yet because of grace, no matter what the outcome is on the other end, I know that I’ll be okay. I know that’ll learn, grow and avoid that same thing next time. So when I run into people who I’d…for lack of better terms, rather not see, or hear someone complain about something I did years ago, I don’t see myself as they SAW me or think I am (and trust me, people speak forgiveness but don’t often live out non-judgement), but instead I see myself as who I am now. And when I don’t go back to where they want me, I’ve dodged a bullet. Cause it coulda been much worse.

I think the worst part for Jacob was maybe thinking that Esau wouldn’t see him as changed but always the same liar. I can understand that. We have friends that see us at our worst yet help us push for our best. Then there are those who’d rather see us as the same; possibly to justify their positions, i guess. But worst than that would be if we saw ourselves that way too. None of us have to  be slaves to what we were. We can actually be different, knowing that it could have been far worse but we avoided some major pitfalls.

This past winter, I went though that…thinking of myself as old me, as opposed to the person I am and should be, and wasted a lot of time. I’m glad that’s done with. And now when I walk around, read, tweet, blog or hear similar stories… ANYTHING, i think back, then forward and say, ‘man, I dodged some bullets there’.

So even when run-ins occur or the mind begins to sulk and fear, it’s okay…I’m not the man I used to be.

And I am very happy about that.

How bout you? What bullets have you dodged? How have you changed? What needs to? How can He change you? Remember, each day you live, you’re never the same…