posted on June 14, 2010 22:00
It’s less than an hour before my youngest child hits the milestone age of five. The house is quiet; I’m eating a bowl of cereal and wondering how I can be more fully engaged in the incredible stories that are unfolding every day within these walls.
So much time has passed since my wife and I first became parents nearly 10 years ago, and yet only a moment has passed. We’ve changed so much, and yet so very little at the same time.
I think of all the cute little statements, creative ideas, irrational wants, etc., that have been uttered or expressed by my children to date. And it’s hard to believe that I knew nothing of any of them for the first 32 or so years of my life. Did I dream of these precious episodes as I grew up and became a young adult, and I just don’t remember the dreams themselves? Were their eternal words already etched deep inside my heart, folded somewhere in my subconscious…awaiting the season of their manifestation into the growing, breathtaking forms of my little ones?
Tonight, before my initial attempt to fall asleep, I finished my first read of Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. As Miller endeavors to help write a screenplay based on himself, he intentionally begins to live out more adventures in his true life. He hikes dangerous cliffs, rides his bicycle across the country and launches a mentoring program for fatherless youth. More and more, this Portland-based writer is significantly investing in people, movements and efforts that make a widespread impact. Miller reflects near the end of the book that, because of this, life no longer feels meaningless.
The greatest adventure right at this moment is, for me at least, eliciting the emergence of critical thinking and discovery of underlying joy within the minds and hearts of two young children. It doesn’t have the edgy drama of “becoming someone” vis-a-sis the standards of the material world. It might not even be as exciting as publishing a book or giving speeches to large audiences—both of which are regular ambitions of mine.
When I try to think of anything that truly compares to the dynamic that I’m one of just two people in the entire world who love these girls in a manner that no one else ever could…I grasp with futility for the analogy. And I see the futility of all those distracting ambitions to become someone or something else, when the essence of who I am is unfolding before me every day in plain sight.