Scenes From A Preschooler’s Bedtime

Beginners BibleDialog, almost verbatim, from last night’s bedtime ritual:
Me: [Having just read the story of Moses getting the Ten Commandments from God] What did God tell Moses to tell the people?
Me: He said “Do not…”?
Will: Kill!
Me: And “Do not…”
My Wife: [Suggesting helpfully] “Do not st…”
Will: Steve!
Me: [Covering my mouth so as to obscure the smile now plastered across it] No, son, God did not tell Moses to tell the people “Do not Steve”. He said “Do not steal.”
Will: …Oh. Yes, do not steal!

Monkey Man!

Reel Big Fish’s cover of Toots and the Maytals’ “Monkey Man” has become the Stewart household’s unofficial theme song. It is now impossible to put it on without my children beginning to dance, spin and generally cavort. Will occasionally even spontaneously bursts out in choruses of “Ai-Ai-Ai! Ai-Ai-Ai! / Talkin’ ’bout de big Monkey Man!”.
I’m working on teaching them to do the Midget Punch, Modified Running Man and generalized skankin’, though it may take awhile before they catch on. They mainly like spinning in place and jumping up and down — an appropriate response, given the song, I suppose.

On Loss, Grief, And Giving Thanks

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post for a month now, so I figure it’s about time for me to just go ahead and do it, else I might never blog again. I’ve rewritten this post in my head so many times that I simply need to sit down and spell it all out. It’s been a rough few weeks, so here goes.
We lost our baby the day after Thanksgiving, an occurrence which took the metaphorical wind out of our young family’s sails, to say the least. It’s been a strange grieving process — I’ve felt alternately hyper-emotional and completely detached. Random things will call to mind the baby and bring tears to my eyes, while most of the time, I’m fine. This entire stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas has been surreal.
Our church provided meals for the first week or so, which was great, but as we plowed through to the 25th, things just seemed “off” to me. I’ve struggled on and off with God over questions of “why?”, “why now?” and “how could a God that is (loving, all-knowing, etc.)…?” but have largely been at peace in the knowledge that He, ultimately, knows what He’s doing. My wife and I have been trying to be more committed to doing Advent every night — reading the progression of passages from the Bible outlining the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament passages on Jesus’ arrival and, for me, at least, reading about God coming to Earth in the form of a baby has been comforting. It reaffirms the fact that He cares so incredibly much for the littlest ones among us and that He (as we have told Will) needed to call the baby back to Himself early, certainly earlier than we would have preferred.
With the baby dying at Thanksgiving, Paul’s words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 have been with me almost continuously:

16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

(Emphasis mine.)
This is a tough word in many ways. It’s difficult to think in that manner in the face of adversity, but I feel personally thankful to God for:

  • my wife
  • my children
  • my parents and siblings
  • my church
  • a roof over my head
  • a well-paid contract

…and the list goes on. I have been blessed, truly blessed, and while I don’t, nay, can’t know the mind of God on this, I am comforted and thankful that He is in control.
I’ve felt preoccupied by all these things and it seemed just, well, disrespectful somehow to blog about other things while leaving our loss unspoken. Hopefully I will be able to get back to near-daily blogging again soon.