Yesterday I stood in front of a mirror, draped my arms over my tall sons, and taught them how to tie a tie. What an amazing moment for me to do what dads have done for a long, long time! I taught my sons what my father taught me because he was taught by his father, who was taught by his father. I just experienced a very significant, and lovely, rite of passage with my sons. They are men preparing to dress like a man to go to a significant event. Wow! At the same time I celebrated this moment, saturated with the joy and humor of seeing my sons – who hate dressing up – prepare to dress up as men, I also realized it all was set in the context of sorrow and sadness. The reason they are learning to tie a tie, and dress up at this time is because we will be going on Friday to a significant CHP memorial service for friend of our family; officer James Branik.
I admit it. There’s been a fog of sadness in my heart, and in my wife’s heart that’s grown thicker over the last few months. I’ve written in this blog space about how the reality of losing family, friends, and dear ones who are close in sudden fashion has hit me with the sadness of mortality. I’m sad that we – as a race – even ended up this place where our sin broke us and condemned us to die a physical death. I’m sad about the suddenness of lives ending abruptly and sad about the tears I’ve seen shed around me this past year. I guess I’m sad too that it all reminds me of how short my own life really is and how easily it all can slip through my fingers.
At the same time I admit this fog of sadness, I find myself having to fix my gaze on the vibrant reality of God’s presence and His goodness in my sadness. I am reminded that I must look to celebrate, and enjoy that much more completely, teaching my sons to tie a tie. Sure it takes more work to see it right now, but the truth is there are so many more amazing, good and beautiful things that happen every day in my life and in this world that truly outweigh, by far, the tragic, sad and even violent events that transpire every day in this world. So though I feel the sadness right now, I also see, and must dedicate myself to celebrate, all of the surprising goodness and beauty God pours out every day that is even more unexplainable than the tragedies I can’t explain. So heavenly Father, I thank you for letting me teach my sons to tie a tie!