A Love-filled Fool (An Ode to ResonateAPC)

Plaid Night @ #InsideOut13 with Resonate (Agincourt Pent. Church's Post-High Group

I have just returned from a great time away with 30+ of the funnest, funniest, truest people I have the privilege of knowing. While tired in my body and weak in my mind, I have stopped many times to think over the blessing each of them are to me and to each other.

You see, this group is a family. Not in the way of how people say “I love coming to __________ because we’re like a family.” They are a family in that they don’t have to say it but people know it. They are all unique persons but they’re united in the main things (for starters, a deep rooted faith in God, through Jesus Christ, revealed by the Holy Spirit and grown in healthy community…sorry…HAD to preach there!!), which keeps them (and me to them/them to me) constantly connected. We laugh, cry, grow, learn, agree, disagree and serve together. And we’re all better for it.

And we’re a family that takes risks together.

For example…one night during our retreat, while taking a group picture, an idea was sprung up by one of younger brothers that then RESONATED through everyone. I, being the eldest, wasn’t the most excited for said idea. But I truly love these ones, and so I added my two cents to our creative potluck. The results are now being slowly viewed by friends of friends through various social media outlets, but what was captured in the room, can’t be defined by a 30 second clip.

In that room, a few hours prior, was laughter due to games, stories and pictures. Later on, tears, support, songs and prayers. And then following THAT?  A fun dance party. None were exclusive from each other but rather like a real family, they bled one into the next, a beautiful mosaic of stories, lives and excitement. And while I didn’t shed tears, I was moved. And here on my couch, retelling the stories to Wifey, looking a vast array of pictures, I still am.

And so, like the song Endless Love says, not only would I “…be a fool…” for them for dumb things (and for smart meaningful things too), I can’t think of a better group of people I’d be a love-filled fool for. I do love them a lot.

And as we move towards the #nextadventure we take together, like Max from “Where The Wild Things Are” proclaimed:

Let the wild rumpus start!



Marriage Blog: It’s Not Her Fault

prefix: Becca and I have been overwhelmed in a loving way at those who have read and commented on our posts dealing with our journey through Becca’ postpartum depression. We’ve both talked about how we don’t want to write to “capitalize” on that readership (hence my monday blog was this) but at the same time, we’ll open up a bit more from our story with Becca writing from her experience and I from a naive husband’s perspective. That being said, I will still talk about my amazing beard too, among other things that I like to talk about. But today, the postpartum story continues. And do look out for Becca’s blogpost as they come.

I have often heard that it is wrong to kick someone when they are down. I know this to be true but for a number of months I didn’t practice this in my own home. During my wife’s pregnancy and especially during after Liam’s birth, i did this. It’s hard to admit but I did. How? But quietly getting angry at Wifey without knowing what was going on in her. And I didn’t realize that in my actions that i was making things worse.

I saw her sadness and thought, “why can’t you snap out of it!?“. I saw her fatigue and thought, “maybe we (but really meaning her to be honest) should eat better…” and I saw her frustration and thought, “Life is good, why complain?” At the time, Becca was driving long hours to work and the drive was killing her. It always had but at this junction in our lives, it was worse. Her sighs were louder, her sadness more pronounced. Truth be told, she loved who she worked with but didn’t love her job and it was really getting to her. And at home She wasn’t able to play with Ellie. And after his  birth, she was always mad at Liam. He didn’t feed like Ellie or sleep like Ellie, or cry like Ellie…and she would let him know that. And I saw this…

And I kept it in. And grew in anger towards my wife.

*Let that sink in, Chris. 

I remember Becca mentioning on night, “I think you should read about postpartum depression…” and getting defensive. I mean, I KNEW about it. I read books, studied it for classes…but much of what people know in theory means nothing if it’s not practiced out when the time comes. And at that moment when healing should have taken place, my anger push her away…deeper into her depression. And there is nothing worse that being alone when you already feel alone.

My worst moment came during an extended family situation where the end result was me kicking a piece of furniture in front of my wife and daughter. Everything boiled over: my sadness, my feelings of failure as a husband, my naiveté, my embarrassment…

…There is no worse feeling than the ones you love seeing you at your worst. Nothing like embarrassing yourself because your own pride was wounded. And there is no bigger bittersweet moment then when you have to say, “I was wrong, I am sorry, what can I do to help?”

It took me a lot of time, counsel and tough talks with Becca to realize something that all husbands need to know:

It wasn’t her fault. My wife didn’t ask God for the test of depression to prove his glory. She didn’t get herself tangled into darkness to then find herself bound by something. No. Her body failed her (As ALL our bodies will in some form at some point) and she hadn’t received the medicine and counsel to be her again. She was unable to love us as she wanted to, not unwilling. And there is a big difference there.

So what did I do when this revelation came about:

Summer Reading List…What’s Yours?!

I’m a huge nerd. I may act like I’m big tings but in the end, I love sci-fi, chess and reading books (…That’s not a typo, friends…I said TINGS, not things…and in explaining that, I’ve proven that I’m a nerd…dang.).

I’m always reading something but this summer, I’ve given myself the huge task of reading a bunch of books before September 1st. Here’s are some reasons why:

1) I have more time to read than during the school year. I can actually CHOOSE these books over the readings I’ll do with my staff, colleagues and classes when I’m in school.
2) I love learning about story & storytelling (if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I love Jesus, family, community and story a lot), new words and new forms of wordplay.
3) I enjoying resting my brain in a good read. It’s really relaxing and helpful as I navigate through life.

So…as you can see from my picture above, the task is HUGE! But I’m excited. Shout outs to one of my young adults, Rachel Appadurai, for inspiring this quest out of her OWN summer list.

A brief reason for each book:
Tribes – A lot of good leaders I know love this book. It’s sat on my shelf for a LONG while and the other day I was like, ‘IT. IS. ON!’ Then I forgot why I said that. That has nothing to do with the book.

I, Issac, Take Thee Rebekah – Ravi Z is a brilliant mind and this is a brilliant book. I lost my old copy so I repurchased it and plan to relearn some marriage tips to improve on the home front.

Introverts in the Church – Great insight on many people in our churches who don’t feel comfortable in our extrovert-led assemblies. I’m 100 pages in so far and I’m learning lots about myself, Becca who is an introvert and others around me. It’s easy to think that because someone doesn’t worship all out like others I know that they aren’t into Jesus…maybe they just aren’t into THAT mode of worship…it’s insights like that I love.

Pop Goes The Church – Another book that sat on the shelf for almost a year. I love pop culture and want to learn how to use it to enhance what I do rather than run from it and teach others to do the same.

The One-Week Job Project – A 25-year-old who can’t figure out what he wants to do with his life does one job a week for a year. Nice insights on identity, choices, story and the people we meet along the way.

World War Z – Just in case there is a zombie war, I’ll be ready. I know it’s fake but you can never be TOO prepared, I say.

Mandela: A Biography – I remember in 1990 watching this man be released from prison with my dad on TV. I never knew that 20 years later, this man would be one of the most important figures in modern-day history not only in his native South Africa but the world over. An example of humanity, forgiveness, leadership, character and courage that can’t be denied. This book gives a great background to how he became the man that we know now…I’m 134 pages in with 400+ to go!

What projects do YOU have in mind for the summner?  Gardening? Memorizing poems or scriptures? Gaining or losing weight? Have you started yet? Already quit? What do you really want to accomplish this summer?

I can’t wait to see how this projects ends for me…I’ll keep you posted on the results!