Issues of Ultimate Concern...
Last night the ailment that plagued my childhood returned with a vengeance. Earache. It started while we were at Mr. Snow and progressively got worse until late in the evening. Aside from backaches, toothaches, and a swift kick to the scrotum, there is no pain in the world as intense, from my experience, as an earache. As a child I can remember being balled up on the couch for days on end just wishing I would die so the pain would stop. Three surgeries for the installation of tubes and many doctor visits later and I was ok. My ears were scarred up like battle wounds and my sense of hearing has much to be desired, but the pain slowly started to go away. Until last night. Thanks to Tylenol, eardrops, genuine compassionate words from Christy, and a trek across the street by Tom to borrow a heating pad from Tracey, I feel much better.
While I was in the fetal position waiting for the elements to work their magic I thought of two people. The first was my mom. I actually reached for my phone several times and started to dial Chandler so I could just tell my mom, in a baby voice, "My ear hearts!" That's what I did when I was a kid. It's amazing as a child how just your parents knowing you hurt can make you feel better. All they have to do is let you snuggle next to them and the pain may not go away, but it at least becomes a bit more bearable. I refrained from actually calling her because yesterday was her first official day of retirement and I'm quite sure I would have heard a knock on the door about an hour and a half after I hung up with her.
The other person I thought about was Sutton, my friend of almost two years. We've known each other all of his life and what sometimes seems like most of mine. If you don't know the Lake kids, let me give you a brief synopsis. Avery, 3,is the diva, the drama queen, who can go from fits of joy to fits of rage within moments. Jude, 23 mos., is constantly playful and silly, like his dad. He's quickly learning how making funny faces can make other people laugh. Sutton, Jude's twin brother, we call "loverboy" because he is cuddly and affectionate. When I see Avery and pick her up, she almost always has something to tell me. When I see Jude and pick him up, he almost always slaps his head with his hand, because that's what we do when we sing "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring...," and he laughes hysterically when I slap my head. When I see Sutton and pick him up, he always wraps his arms around me, as far as they'll go, put his cheek on my shoulder, and squeeze like he's trying to pop the life right out of me. When we get to the "...great big hug and a kiss from me to you..." part of the Barney song, it's not complete for Sutton unless he actually performs the words to the song.
Sutton loves to hug and he loves to cuddle.
I woke up this morning feeling much better. I went to work out then came home and lounged around the house most of the day. Took a couple of naps, picked up "Life of Pi" again to give it another go, checked email, read a few blogs, watched a little television, then went to be with my little friends for the evening.
Because of my past, growing up Christian, of the Baptist variety, and being somewhat theologically educated, I guess I'll never be able to get away from all the debates that go on in certain circles. At times I run headlong into them, confident that I've got truth on my side and will win. Other times I put my feet in tepidly, quite sure that I will be defeated, and at least pretend to be willing to learn a few things. Other times I pretend to not care, to be above those trivial arguments. And some times I really don't care, like now.
Fundamentalist? Postmodern? Modern? Reformed? 1963 or 2000 Baptist Faith and Message? Innerancy? Infallibility? Tongues ceased or continuing? SBC, BGCT, SBT, CBF, BWA? Moderate, conservative, or liberal? Women pastors?
Yeah, ok, whatever. Go ahead and put my name in whatever column you want me to be in. I could defend either one, but I'll cling to none.
Jesus said that whoever drinks the water he gives will never thirst, and that he'll be with us wherever we go, even to the ends of the earth, and that we should love one another. I'll cling to that.
Blake commented on Mark's blog that "our many re-unions with others are a sacred foretaste of the future kingdom... and, as iron on iron, the living fabric of our sanctification," and I realized it is less than a month until I will see him again, and I smiled. I'll cling to that.
I'll cling to the knowlege that people love me and pray for me.
Tonight, worn out from a long play session, I put the cartoons in the DVD player and plopped down on the couch. Sutton was the first in my arms. I was laying down and he came and laid right on top of me, head on my chest, curled up in the way kids do that suggests they just can't get close enough to you, positioned so he could see the television. Avery sat at my feet. Jude wedged himself in my arm that was closest to the couch and unknowingly grabbed my hand as he watched tv. As the night went on something happened that startled Jude. I think he was close to falling asleep and he realized he wasn't in his bed. He came to his senses, looked up at me, smiled, and said "I bub boo Craig." (Translation: I love you Craig.)
After that I could retire from theological conversation for good.
Those are my issues of ultimate concern.