Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool, loving both of you is breaking all the rules…

Have I gone mad?  Using a quote from a Mary McGregor song (one of my brother Jeff’s favorites growing up) to start my morning post.  And to put your mind at rest, I’m not seeing anyone on the side – that is not the “lover” I’m referring too.  So what is this “lover” I speak of?  Time.  What?  Yes, time.

From the very first moment we started having our children, I’ve enjoined them more and more the older they became.  No, that doesn’t mean I didn’t love them as little babies, but being able to play with them, coach their various sports teams, play cards with them, watch TV with them; the older they get the more I enjoy it.  But with that, comes the other side of growing up.  My fourth child will be leaving the house this coming week.  My third youngest will more than likely be leaving for graduate school next Fall.  A quick example of how time steals from me was just yesterday.  Cecilia is home from LA until mid November and yesterday we had a big family dinner on a Sunday night…well, almost a big family dinner.  “Time” took Tony away from the family because he manages an athletic facility in Kirkwood and was working on Sunday night.  Megan – Richard’s bride to be was in New Haven spending some time with her parents.  So as full as the table was, it still wasn’t complete.  I miss those complete days.

Still not following the two lovers?  I love the fact that my children are growing and living lives as independent adults.  I love the fact that they have not only found good and loving spouses, but they have also found beautiful in-laws too.  I love the fact that they are willing to work while in school, that they have all gone on to educate themselves after high school.  I love the grandchildren we have now.

So what is the second love that you are torn about?  I loved being their Dad.  I loved being the guy they came to when they had questions about life.  I loved being the coach who taught them how to play by the rules, play hard but play clean.  I loved being the Uber who drove them wherever they needed to go.  Whatever you can think about what a Dad was supposed to be – I loved doing that.

Yes, I know I used the past tense and I know that my job as a Dad isn’t over…but my role is changing and I’m still adapting to these changes.  That’s why I’m torn.

I’m coming to the understanding that God feels the same way about His children; that is why I need to spend more time in prayer while making this adjustment as my role as a father.  One of my “patron” saints in recent times has become St. Joseph.  I pray for his intercession and guidance quite often and hope that all I do is done to support and love my family, the people God has so richly blessed my life with.

I know I try to tie in my thoughts each day to the readings of our daily Mass and it wasn’t until this very moment that I was sure how I could do this.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells of the following parable from the second chapter of Luke…

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”

And so it is that I must share my treasures with others.  If what I treasure most is my family, then I am blessed to share them with the world.  What God has given me most generously, I must share with others as well.  Pray for me that I am no longer torn between having kids and now having adults.

I used the following prayer for Justin and Mary last Saturday, but I find it rather appropriate to use again today…

Take O Lord,
And receive our liberty,
Our memory, our understanding,
And our whole will.
All that we have and all that we possess
You have given us:
We surrender it all to You
To be disposed of according to Your will.
Give us only Your Love and Your Grace;
With these we will be rich enough
And will desire nothing more.

Do something great for our Lord today – look at your family and thank God for that treasure He has given you.  Share that treasure with the world.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

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