Meet Craig — The Wilshirite

I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of Craig’s past posts over on A Wilshirite’s Tale. Not only am I getting to know Craig a bit better, I find myself considering finer points of some issues that I have been wrestling over the past 20 years. So, in that regard I’m also getting to know myself a bit better as well. Craig articulates a perspective on the modern church, Baptists in particular, that resonates with my experiences. Craig’s is a smart blog that I recommend spending time on; go enjoy.

What a Nice Visit

Tonight I had the pleasure of spending the evening with my Aunt Helen. I have not seen her for much longer than I care to admit so being in the Washington area all week I just had to get over to see her. Being Aunt Helen, she would have nothing to do with not feeding me while I visit.

Growing up, holidays were simply excuses for the family to go spend the weekend at Jim and Helen’s, or they with us. I have so many wonderful memories of these times. My Uncle Jim’s basement was magical. He enjoyed wood and leather working and his basement was full of all kinds of tools and things. Although I do recall that there was this martian-robot thing that scared the bejeebers out of me as a kid.

It was my Uncle Jim that introduced me to the cherry slushie. He was also the only person I knew who could hold a conversation with a six year old backwards. Well, not exactly backwards, more like sideways. He would swap the order words on the fly but it always made sense to every child with whom he conversed. Jim passed away several years ago and Helen has been living by herself since. She has a son and several other friends and relatives who look in on her, take care of anything she may need and generally love on her.

I walked to the door and rang the bell. Helen opened the door and invited me in and we immediately began to talk as though we were picking up just where we left off. She is just so comfortable, and comforting, to be around. It was such a wonderful evening.

Answers to Meesh’s Five

Another set of 5 interview questions, this time from [url=http://meesh.blogdrive.com/]Meesh[/url]. Remember, if you would like to participate leave a comment saying “interview me” and I will give you your very own set of 5 questions that you answer on your blog and then make a similar offer to interview someone else. So, on to Meesh’s questions.

1. Your children are in their teen years and pretty soon they will be out the house, is there anything you look back on and wish you would have done differently as they were coming up and what do you do now to give them their “father” time? What is the most important thing you hope to pass on to them, and what hopes do you have for them in their adult years?

Yes, there certainly is. We relocated when the kids were quite young. Nicole was three and a half and Jared was six months. With my bride being an only child, our kids were her parents’ only grandchildren and as it has turned out they have been my parent’s only grandchildren as well.

My father-in-law’s health was never strong for as long as I knew him and it was about five years after we moved to North Carolina from Pennsylvania that he passed away. Eventually, my mother-in-law moved in with us. Her health was deteriorating and my bride became her fulltime caregiver. This was a very trying time for us, but we were very thankful to have her with us. The kids and I witnessed a side of my bride that we had taken for granted. We saw unconditional love demonstrated before our very eyes in a way that still brings a lump to my throat. Then on a Saturday morning in November of 2000 I received a phone call telling me that my dad passed away unexpectedly. I still remember the look in my mother-in-law’s eyes when she told me how sorry she fealt for me. It was August of the following year that she too passed away.

What exactly does this have to do with what I wish I would’ve done differently? I wish I would not have removed our children from our parents’ daily lives. They have missed out on so much opportunity to know each other. It is not that I think moving to North Carolina was necessarily a wrong decision, I just stuggle with what I have prevented by doing so.

Regarding their “father” time, both my bride and I try to “make dates” with each of the kids. About ever other week we each take a different one out for dinner on the same evening. These are very special times and then my bride and I get together and share all about the evening.

The one thing I hope they both take away from my interaction with them as their father as well as how they see me interact with others is that people are to be taken seriously and that ‘the other person’ is likely coming from a different place in life but that does not dismiss the reality of that place to them. Now my hopes for them in the future is to realize every last dream they have ever dreamt… and to do so within twenty miles of my bride and I 😉 oh, and gobs of grandbabies!

2. How do you keep yourself faithful in your walk with God?

I can not honestly say that I have kept myself faithful in my walk. In fact here lately I am stuggling with being completely honest with God. My prayer life recently has been kinda like when I had to tell my parents that I ran the ’72 Chevy wagon off the road while driving friends home before my parents got home from work when I was not supposed to have any friends over when my parents were not home — avoiding eye contact and reluctant to get to the point. In spite of this, I am drawn to desire that faithful walk… oh, to submit.

3. What do you think is the most overlooked issue in the world today? What invention do you think the world would have been better without?

The assumption that one’s patriotism is somehow indicative of one’s faith. This sentiment has been stewing in me for awhile but came to a full boil one Sunday morning just before Vetrans Day. I had been reading about the lives of believers in countries such as China and I found myself considering that on this particular Sunday morning, as the sun rose over various parts of the globe, other believers would be expressing their love and praise to our Lord as I was. In this way I was very connected to these brothers and sisters. It was during this contemplation that we were asked to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag. All connections snapped.

Now, the invention that the world would be better without — that would be the cell phone with the television as a close second and the honey-do jar somewhere in there as well 😀

4. What things do you do to edify your bride, and how do you lead your children in honoring and respecting her?

Put down whatever I am doing and listen. It has taken me the better part of the last twenty years to just begin to get this one; simple but hardly easy. Where the kids are concerned, if they witness a less than edifying word from my mouth, it is important that also witness the requisit appology.

5. I know G220 is the name you got from Galatians 2:20, is there any other verse that speaks to your life so well? What man of the bible has inspired you in your walk with God, and which one do you think you are most like and why?

Ahh, finally an easy one, except maybe for the last part 😉 Another verse that speaks to me is Psalm 27:1. This is the verse I shared at my Baptism and, like Galatians 2:20, is deeper the more you consider it. One of the men of the Bible that has inspired me would be Abraham. Oh, to be considered God’s friend. Now, who am I most like and why… probably Jonah — see answer to question 2.

Way Behind

Wow, I feel so far behind. I got over my little cold alright, but then there was a major press on at work and the days turned long. Now, I find myself sitting in a hotel room just outside Washington. I’m here all week and thought maybe I would finally be able to catch up on all my favorite blogs and even post a few myself. I have 5 interview questions from Meesh to which I owe answers and have been considering several different ideas for posts.

Well, Sunday night I settled in to my room and plugged in my laptop to the room’s high speed connection and… nothing. Several reboots of both the laptop and the DSL router in my room and still nothing. I call the front desk and was told I may just have to settle for using dial up. Now, you really have no reason to just believe me when I say I do not anger easily, but I really don’t. Yet… put me behind the wheel for over 5 hours on a Sunday when I would much rather be home and give me a non-smoking room that hints of some commercial product attempting to cover up many spent packs of ciggarettes and then tell me to settle for dial up and, well, you get the picture. I watched some ESPN, called the family and got to bed early.

Monday showed promise. I found where I was going without incident and the traffic on I95 was really not bad. At the end of the day, on my way back to the hotel, I got a hankering for some Chinese food. Instead of turning left into the hotel I continued heading west and drove into and then through a small town. I thought I passed Hunan Garden so given an opportune spot to turn around, I figured I would do so. Just then I notice a sign to my right. It read Cedar Ridge Community Church. I slapped the right turn signal on, slowed down quickly and made the turn into the drive. I didn’t even get honked at.

CRCC sits on what appears to have been a horse pasture with a large barn that has been turned into an annex building for the church. A very beautiful setting. Since I will be in town for the week I was hoping to maybe attend a midweek service/meeting. As it turns out I only saw information about some AA groups and a ladies prayer group meeting during the week. Oh well.

After scoring an order of sesame chicken, I returned to the hotel Monday evening and fired up the laptop. More of the same — nothing. I once again called the front desk and pleaded my case. “Do you know how many hotels I have stayed in without issue when going online?” “No, it is not a setting on my machine.” “Yes, please send maintenance” — maintenance? Well, about 20 minutes later David arrived. David is a slightly built Mexican gentleman with a broad, white smile. He went through the usual check list, the same I did the night prior, with similar results. He called the front desk to find other unoccupied rooms that we might use as tests cases. They promised to call him back in 5 minutes. We chatted a little. David is one of those people the Lord sends your way when you’re really close to acting stupid; the kind of person who distracts you just enough. Well, the front desk did not call in a timely fashion so David called them and firmly gave them a what-for. I just chuckled. They gave him some room numbers and we checked them out. Same story, no connection. Then David told me I was the fourth person to call with this same problem that day and he has told the boss to call someone to come in and check ‘the big box in the basement’. I almost suggested to David that he and I go to the basement and fix the thing, but I thought better of it. The liability of taking down a hotel’s entire communication system is not something I think my superiors would take kindly. So, I thanked David for his time and told him it was a pleasure meeting him, as it very well was.

Today was another good day. Traffic was agreeable again and the weather was cool and fresh. I opted for lo-mein this evening and I stumbled on a small ‘afri-carib market’. It is a great little store. I picked up a couple liters of water and some really good licorice. I settled down to dinner and CNN and didn’t even attempt to fire up the laptop until almost 8:00. When I did, I was pleasantly surprised when I was suddenly online — way to go David!