What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Puke Runs Like Rivers and The Importance of Seeking Forgiveness

Over the past five or so days, puke has run like rivers in our house. It started with Zoe, progressed to my wife Kelly (laid her out for a couple of days), and struck Davis and Emma Kate in an epic puke-duelling match in the middle of the night on Friday night.

I have been the lone healthy one through all of it. I'm faintly hopeful that my time might not come at all. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

At any rate, being the lone healthy one over the past five days has meant a lot of work. We've undergone a self-imposed quarantine over the past several days and we've all been up in the middle of the night with sick kids.

Yesterday, in the midst of my own sleep deprivation and tired and somewhat cranky kids, I lost it with my oldest son. He and Zoe were bickering for the millionth time in the previous ten minutes and I just yelled at him.

It's never pleasant to see the ugly sides of yourself. Mostly, I like to believe that my most pleasant sides are the "real" me and that those ugly sides are the aberration. I think if I'm honest, however, the unfortunate reality is that it's quite the opposite.

The episode occurred just before dinner. About five minutes later, I had cooled down. I knew what I needed to do.

"I'm sorry for yelling at you, Davis. Can you forgive me?"

"Yes, Daddy," my sweet boy said to me in his sweet little voice, "I forgive you."

It's never good and yet always good for my ego to apologize to my six, four and three year-olds.

I have spent so much time with so many students over the years who had zero capacity to own the ways they had blatantly sinned against and hurt someone else because in their family they never did it. They never saw an adult parent take responsibility for sinning relationally against them or anyone else.

And so they were completely crippled in their ability to live in reality where we sin against each other all the time. Not only were they disasters relationally in the present. Their future marriages and families were going to bear the burden of the pride of those parents. A train wreck was preparing to repeat itself with each successive generation.

Later that night, we were going around the dinner table and sharing what we're thankful for--sort of a Thanksgiving primer. "I'm thankful for my daddy," is what Davis said.

And I'm thankful for him and his willingness to forgive me. And I'm thankful for parents that taught me the value of owning up to mistakes and making things right. And I'm grateful for other mentors who taught me this value along the way.

Hopefully I'll avoid the bubonic plague that's been steamrolling the Kirk house over these past several days. But whether I'm also steamrolled later today or not, I'm hopeful that my kids will grow up with a daddy who's not going to steamroll over them...at least not without an apology, shortly thereafter.

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