Saturday, December 09, 2006

Wants #3: Family

Tougher and tougher!

Once more: McCarthy's list of eight areas of "wants":

  • Physical/Health/Recreation
  • Finance/Material Possessions
  • Family
  • Vocation/Career
  • Social/Community
  • Spiritual
  • Mental/Intellectual
  • Other
So I'm up to "Family."

I love my wife. As I identify myself here, I'm the "husband to the wife of my youth" . . . which is a direct reference to Proverbs 5:18b, but, by implication, to the section from Proverbs 5:15-20:

Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer--
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be captivated by her love.
Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress?
Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife?

Family Goals

  • I want to remain faithful to my wife above all else, when it comes to "Family." Though maybe faithful isn't even the right word. I want to love her . . . I think, to use a term from Scripture: "As Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her . . ." (Ephesians 5:25-26). --I'm afraid that may be a bit more "pie in the sky" than I want: I am sure I fail at it far too often. But that's my desire. That's what I want. . . .

    As I said back in Love Languages: The Gift of Gift-Giving . . . and Receiving:
    Closeness . . . means--and has always meant--[such] a great deal to me that [I permitted] no one--no one, not even any of our kids, even when they were exceptionally young-- . . . "get between" Sarita and me. If we were sitting in church: no one sat between us. Ever. It was simply understood. The symbolism was too great, too meaningful.
So that's #1.

After that, . . .

  • I want to pass on a legacy of wisdom to my kids and grandkids. I'm not exactly sure what that means in practice. I think it includes thoughtfulness, and a desire for graciousness in speech and conduct. . . . And if and when we fail (which, I am afraid, we will all do far more often than we would prefer) . . . then I want them to be quick to seek forgiveness and reconciliation with the person(s) they have offended: to be "made right." That is a heart desire.
This one is really tough. I find myself torn, torn, torn on it.

On the one side:
  • I don't want to be a "Cat's in the Cradle" dad:

    My child arrived just the other day
    He came to the world in the usual way
    But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.
    He learned to walk while I was away
    And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
    He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, Dad.
    You know I'm gonna be like you."

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon.
    "When you comin' home, Dad?"
    "I don't know when. But we'll get together then, son.
    You know we'll have a good time then."

    My son turned ten just the other day.
    He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad. Come on, let's play.
    Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today.
    I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
    And he walked away, and his smile never dimmed.
    He said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
    You know I'm gonna be like him. . . ."

    --Harry Chapin

My eyes tear up just writing those words!

I so much wish I could have had a closer relationship with my own dad. . . .

So: I want not to have a Harry Chapin-esque "Cat's in the Cradle" kind of relationship with my kids and grandkids.

But yet, at the same time, I have to confess, I have to fight my . . .

  • humongously strong desire for . . . time to be by myself; time to think; time to . . . just "be."

    And I have never been "good" at--and

  • I have no desire for--"chit chat" kinds of conversation.

    I endure it. I can "even"--when I'm really deliberate about it-- . . . I can "even" permit myself to enjoy light conversation: just "let it flow." But I will never seek it out. I will seek human company. And for the sake of such company, I will enjoy the camaraderie of light banter and "shooting the breeze." But if the conversation turns deep, if it turns "fierce": then I feel I'm truly in my element. . . .

    So that "reality" means

    • I find myself pretty shredded when my kids or grandkids are over.

    • I want to spend time with them, but

    • I don't "just" want light time, and

    • I don't want to force heavy time, and

    • I know I can't expect to enjoy the heavy times if I'm not "there" for them during the light banter times when, in the midst of such conversation the heavier topics will almost inevitably make themselves felt and known. . . .

    So I often find myself "apart" from the family, kind of "doing my thing," yet feeling drawn to--guilty, even, because I'm not involved in--their conversations.

    I guess I'm a kind of "double-minded" man at that point. . . .

    [Strange: This seems to be a pattern in our growing extended family. While the women watch the little ones (the grandkids) and enjoy fellowship one with another, the adult men in the family (other than me) seem to sneak off and play video games or watch movies together. I sit in my office, often at my computer, and do this kind of stuff--like writing blog posts. I don't join either group. Because I think video games are pretty stupid, and I don't enjoy "chit chat."

    But if the women decide to go for a walk or something, then I love to join them.]

Well. Back to wants.

Y'know? I can't really think of any more "wants" right now. I'm afraid this is as far as I'm going to be able to take this right now.

But as I said before: this is a start. And a start is better than no start at all.

So I'll quit now. . . .
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