You have to be bad at something to be good at something.

Yesterday I went outside to find Fresh standing in the driveway trying to make a basket. What made it one of those special dad moments was not the fact that I got to witness my child’s first unassisted basket and give him pointers, although that was nice too. It’s what he was saying to himself as he was doing it,

“You have to be bad at something to be good at something.”

Occasionally he would glance up at me as if to ask, “Right?”

“You bet. Everyone who is good at something was once bad at it for a long time.”

I cannot count how many times I have said that to my children when they gave up or got frustrated. I was grateful to be allowed to see that in some way what I say does sink in.

With tireless repetition, what I say and do with my kids does, over time, sink in. Which is kind of a scary thought, actually.

Sorry, Girlzilla. I had to be bad at something to be somewhat better at it. You were my first pancake. But you’re turning out pretty good anyway. Heh.

Blogging the Abyss

“A man looks in the abyss, there is nothing staring back at him. At that moment he discovers his character. That keeps the man out of the abyss” — Hal Holbrook’s character from Wall Street

That’s how I feel. I’m looking into the abyss. On March 26th, one day after I messed up my site by accident and couldn’t post, I got laid off from my consulting job. My job will no longer be mine as of April 27th.

I’m told it’s purely business. Shifing business models. I am “surplus.”

My faith is being tested. Fear, doubt, anger all want to paralyze me. I try not to look down. One next right thing at a time.

But even in this time, I am blessed. By my wonderful wife. By a community of supportive friends. By prayer and by the gift of grace that allows me to fall into the arms of my God. Which means to lean on my community, to trust and turn over those thoughts that touch my inner core of cold fear about being out of work with four kids to support.

What does worrying accomplish? I can only chop wood, carry water, and leave the rest up to God. He is apparently having me go through this as part of some plan. Different than what I would have chosen but isn’t it always the case?

Anyway, my only true choice is abandonment. I like this from Thomas Merton.

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain
where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and that I think I am following your will
does not mean I am actually doing so.

But I believe
the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire
in all I am doing.

I hope
I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear,
for you will never leave me
to face my perils alone