I thought this couldn’t be right. When looking at what’s next, when considering life and work, there is nothing I should additionally pursue right now? It was a curve ball I didn’t expect at the time.
As I mentioned in my previous posts, the difficulties and inconsistencies of the pregnancy had me looking forward to not only routine, but pursuing some ideas and projects. Some of it was birthed out of last fall’s Thinc Iowa when I started to sense a shift with not only my creative energies, but also my path as well.
The rest of the Sunday afternoon I was lost in my own thoughts. I was trying to rectify this new word with what I had been thinking. I wondered if I had completely missed on what I had been thinking about throughout the pregnancy.
That night, I was laying in bed still thinking through things. I was perusing Twitter when I came across this tweet.
Nothing says regret like the email address you made as a kid.
— antijokeapple (@antijokeapple) April 28, 2013
It made me smile as I thought of my first email address. “firstname.lastname@example.org”. “Korova 1” was the b-side to U2’s single “The Fly”, which was the first single off of Achtung Baby. As I thought of this, I was reminded that Achtung Baby was over twenty years old. What hit me hard, though, was realizing Bono was 31 years old when Achtung Baby was released.
I felt older, again, but that happens a lot nowadays. What went with the feeling was the thought of insignificance. What have I done with my life? That paired with the idea that God wanted me to do “nothing” now was confusing.
When I take a step back and look upon my life, it is one of significance. I know God has used my life to make a positive impact around the world. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like that. As I get ready to turn 37, it would seem I’m just going through life by comparison with an iconic album, from a legendary band, that launched the next stage of their artistic history. Heck, the name of this blog takes its name from lyrics off the opening track of Achtung Baby.
“Just be.” This thought came to me as I was making ridiculous comparisons between my life and U2’s. It percolated a bit, and I believed it even if I didn’t grasp it. I was going to chase after “being”.
Okay. Time to double down.
— Robert Murphy (@RamHatter) April 29, 2013
Double down on “being”.
I was reminded that first and foremost I’m a follower of Jesus, a husband and father. And, I love being all those things. If everything else were to pass away, but not those things, I’d be happy.
To a degree, everything else is passing away in limited amounts. Most work days now, it’s usually around 9 PM that I finally have time alone with Jana or for me to do my own thing. I can’t stay up late because regardless of what I do, my boys will be up early. Charlie wakes up during the night at least once.
Jana and I still do our best to take a sabbath on Fridays. We do not work if we can. This means I don’t work on side projects either. It’s a day of rest and reflection. My work keeps me more than busy, and if I didn’t keep it in check there would be the temptation of sacrificing my marriage and children to work. What time do I have to pursue other interests actively? More importantly, why would I?
I’m in a time of my life where my boys’ trajectories in life are heavily influenced by me. They yearn to be with me every waking second. Plus, they are a lot of fun. Why sacrifice that? Jana is my best friend. Our marriage and friendship continues to deepen, and I reap the benefits. Why sacrifice that?
It seems obvious, but there is the ever present temptation to sacrifice those things I believe to be most important to me. Part of the temptation comes from the idea you have to do something big for your life to matter. Amongst Christians, this is a growing idea. One cannot simply just be. If one says that, they are viewed as complacent by other Christians. Could this be the case? In some instances, yes. In all instances? No.
The following morning, after wrestling with the idea of “double down on being”, I was driving back to Scooter’s to work. On the way there, I was listening to a podcast by Andy Stanley. The podcast was from a series is called “Christian”. In it, Andy talked about how love should be the defining characteristic in being a Christian. Loving people the way Jesus would love them is what makes a difference. The timing of the podcast hit with me. A good reminder of what is important, and what makes lasting impact. When I got to Scooter’s, I tweeted out one of the verses Andy had shared in his message.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” -Jesus (John 15:12) — Robert Murphy (@RamHatter) April 29, 2013
Loving God and loving others. It’s the core of “being” a Christian. Just be.
Later in the day, Jana texted me. It had been a rough morning, and in the text she mentioned feeling disconnected with me. I came home instantly. Well, I swung by Krispy Kreme and picked up a dozen glazed donuts for Jana. (A favorite of hers.) I surprised her and the boys, and we had an extended lunch. It was lovely.
It was also a poignant reminder of why I needed to do nothing and double down on being.
That night, I was finishing reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to Liam and Duncan. It has been my favorite Harry Potter book, mainly because of the final third of the book. The first time I read it, I was engrossed by the story and where it went. As I was reading those chapters to the boys, I would glance at them. Liam was looking up in wonder as I read the same words that had captured my imagination the first time I read them. A cool moment with my boys.
Later that week, I was listening to another podcast from Andy Stanley’s “Christian”. Again, his words rang true.
Anytime the church leverages anything other than love, we go backwards not forwards. -Andy Stanley
— Robert Murphy (@RamHatter) May 1, 2013
Love. It’s what I need to make sure I’m always leveraging. In life, with my family, and with what I do at work. Love needs to permeate it all.
So now what? Nothing. Nothing, and everything. Loving God. Loving Jana. Loving my boys.
I hope to expand on some of this post in the coming days and weeks. If I don’t get to it right away, I hope you’ll understand. 😉