Being a part of a marriage, a family, or any sort of a team requires the players to take a leap of faith to achieve success. To build this type of faith, there needs to be built a trust between all involved. Faith and trust that the other members of the team unit will take care of their role and do the thing, or things, they are supposed to do. It is a simple concept of a team unit. Everyone has a job and needs to focus on accomplishing that job.
It’s not easy, though. It is not easy to trust that someone else will hold their own, especially when you know their faults and their weaknesses. It’s easy to lack faith in each other and try to perform all the parts yourself. This doesn’t work very well, believe me.
Trust doesn’t come prepackaged and FedEx’d overnight at our convenience. This type of trust and faith needs to be pounded into shape with consistency and time and repetition. Perform adequately. Every time. Over time. The harder the challenge, the more faith and trust is built; a baptism by fire, as I like to say.
When you trust those around you, it’s like wearing the superhero’s cape. Your cape gives you powers beyond just yourself, it makes you stronger, and it makes you a better individual. With a team, a family, or a marriage, the more intertwined the individuals are, the stronger the unit becomes. We need to help those around us build with their own capes by being faithful and trustworthy teammates.
So, be a true and faithful teammate, wear your capes proudly, and live life as Guy Clark wrote in his song, The Cape:
“Yeah, he’s one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith. Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.”
When I was younger, I viewed life as linear function. Sort of like the board game, Life. Move down the path, forward only. Get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, and then make your pink, globe-shaped head, uber-thin wife sit in the back row of the sleek, blue roadster as the fam cruises the plastic landscape. Linear. Set a goal and go do it. Simple.
With age and experience I have come to find that life is not really like the game of Life at all, it is more like the Plinko game from The Price Is Right. You know the game. The contestant climb the stairs to the top of the vertical Plinko board and drop big round plastic chips down slots. The board has bumper pins spread over the surface to block the straight path to the targeted money slot at the bottom. Gravity pulls the chip down into collisions with the pins and it moves randomly down the course. Sometimes it glances off a pin and only slightly knocked off course. Other times the chip has a full force, head-on collision with the pin and gets knocked straight backward until gravity wins out again to start down another path. Plinko.
Doesn’t that sound more like real life?
Hey, I’m not complaining one bit. At age 48, with my wife, my three kids, two dogs, maybe two cats, great friends, a house in a cool small town, job(s) and never ending chaos, I welcome the Plinko-life. It is a grand adventure climbing up to the platform above the Hays family Plinko board, aiming our chips at the intended goals at the bottom of the course, and then letting go. Yeah, we fret when the chips glance off pins and veer away from their intended course. We feel the pain when a chip hits a pin head-on and gets knocked backward. Sure, it hurts and is a bit disheartening to see the chip plink further and further from the big prize.
That’s where the fun begins. We laugh as the chips dances down the board. We learn to enjoy the journey and try to get the most out of the new directions. These surprise changes of direction become moments of great joy, truer and more real than any plastic scenery can match.
Sure, I’ll miss my cool, blue roadster, but I kind of like my chances getting knocked around on the Plinko board.
Filed under Rants, Reads, Writes
These are five things I have learned (and am still learning) since becoming a father, with some things learned from the wise mother.
1. Watching your own kids is NOT babysitting, it’s called PARENTING.
2. The dining room table is one of the most effective family-building tools.
3. The kitchen, household and laundry appliances are unisex in design and engineering. Go figure.
4. Not much beats a good family game or movie night, especially when the Dad wins the game or John Wayne and/or Star Wars and/or Indiana Jones is the movie.
5. If you give them a good base and allow them to be them, your kids will become better human beings than you. (Just as you wished for the day they were born.)
Whose name is written on YOUR foot? by Coach Hays
I sat down in my man-chair. It was comfortable. It was quiet. It was peaceful. I was reading some Sherlock Holmes. Life was good. In comes offspring #2, who plops down on the sofa and turns on the TV. Toy Story followed by Toy Story 2. I cough. Then I loudly clear my throat, but to no avail. And wanting to avoid an international incident requiring mediators and negotiators, I let the intrusion slide. I ignored Offspring #2 and went back to reading.
But pretty soon…well, you all know what happened. The giggling and laughing from the sofa caught my attention and before you know it, the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is safely closed on the end table with me and Offspring #2 both laughing and reciting lines by heart. (Admit it. “Positive is positive and negative is negative!” is one of the greatest quotations ever recorded on the intricacies of battery polarity engineering and placement.)
Well, the following morning, in that magical mental place between the alarm ringing and full consciousness wrestling back the proper mental faculties, I had a thought flash into my head with the vivid mental image of Woody looking at the faded name of ANDY written on the bottom of his boot. ANDY. The name that represents belonging to and being a part of. ANDY. The name that gives Woody purpose. Looks what happens to Woody in Toy Story 2 when the cleaner wipes those four letters off his boot. He gives up trying to get back to Andy and the others. Gives up and floats away from all that is important to him. When the name disappears, so does the very core of who he is. Eventually, it takes a monumental effort by his friends to bring him back.
Then came the big question. Whose name do I have written on the bottom of my foot in permanent marker? Who do I choose belong to? Who do I choose to give myself up to? What is the purpose, what is the driving force I stand on? Is it a name to provide solid footing or is it one that will cause me to slip and fall? I know now. After some mistakes and some trial and error (see here), I now know.
God on the right foot.
Faith on the left.
Family on the toes.
Filed under Reads, Writes