Worship isn’t something we add into our calendar as a set appointment or something we put on our checklist. Worship is our calendar. Worship is our to-do list. (It’s also our checkbook … or, debit cards. Who writes checks?) Everywhere we are and in everything we do we can worship God, or we can ignore him. If you need a particular style of music or crosses in view or altars or stained glass, then you’ve missed it.
A few summers ago, I led a small group from church of five or six other women, which would have been awkward except we met a few other groups that thankfully included other men. My motives, I confess, were not entirely altruistic, for although we went to help a local pastor in a village in the mountains, I was intent on scoping out the Guatemalan children. By then Cindy and I had our hearts set on adopting a little boy from Guatemala.
Yesterday we appeared in juvenile court to formally petition custody of the Monkey. The whole day was surreal, like the day I got married. It was something long in the making and it’d finally arrived. We drove 2 ½ hours north and dropped off Micah with Yia Yia, his adopted Greek grandmother. Then we met the Monkey’s grandmother and drove together downtown. Whereas it was an exciting day for us, one we’d been working toward for so long, hers was a flurry of emotions.
I posted on Twitter several weeks back that we’ve been working with the Monkey on potty training and that a boy first hears his father say “I’m proud of you” after a successful effort on the toilet. Even more, I think the father learns to say those words in such an intimate moment with his boy (or girl). If a dad isn’t around during those early years, whether because he’s actually gone or just too busy, then he may never learn to tell his kids he’s proud of them.
As a musician, I’d always dreamed of the big stage and playing for thousands of people. I’d wanted to write songs and hear them on the radio and see them climb the charts. Like most American Idol contestants, I think I had the potential, just not the opportunity. But on a mountain in Colorado I surrendered that dream and any other that involved making a name for myself.
Cindy and I met our ambition more than two years ago when we were introduced to a baby boy whose life we sensed God wanting us to impact. We thought we were supposed to adopt him and if that didn’t work out then at least we could help his grandmother care for him. But the two-year process we’ve been mired in has been acutely marked by ambivalence. At times his grandmother wasn’t sure and neither was his mother. I hadn’t been myself. I thought I knew, but like fishing with Papa, maybe I wouldn’t want anymore what I thought I did. And there were many roadblocks that lessened my resolve.
Three years ago, I went to Colorado Springs with our church leadership team for a Wild at Heart retreat, where God little by little fractured my stony heart. First, He put His finger on my father wound, which every man has to some degree. Mine ran rather deep. Second, He affirmed my sensitivity as a dad to my girls. Third, He convinced me I could be a father to a boy. And fourth, He told me I would raise a boy to manhood, one who otherwise would not have had a father. One more day and who knows what else I could have discovered in the mountains.