Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Measure of a Man

What does it mean to be a man?  I remember as a kid wanting to grow up and do the things my dad did: mow the lawn, drive, stand on the balcony railings as he cleaned the gutters.  All pretty over-rated stuff.  As a teenager I felt pretty manly when I came home from a pick-up basketball game having scored a lot of points or having viciously blocked a shot.  Getting my first real job felt pretty important.  Planning a fantastic date with my wife or going camping with my kids or even scraping the snow off of the van before I left for work to save Christi the effort have all made me feel like a man.

Today I attended the funeral of Grandpa Great.  He was a man.  As I watched dozens of pictures that had been put together on a video loop, I saw a man who took care of his family and a man who defended his country.  Several of the images were of him as a sailor in the Navy.  Pictures on tropical islands with his shirt off as he worked in the construction battalion.  The pictures were taken during relatively peaceful moments.  But there were many moments and hours filled with bombs and bullets.  He endured those moments and persevered and overcame.  A true man.  I am ever grateful to the men and women who have defended and continue to defend our amazing country and our hard-earned liberties.  Many of the pictures were of him with his wife.  Every interaction I ever saw of him with his sweetheart was tender and loving.  He obviously treasured her and put her welfare ahead of his.  A true man.

I had an experience today that made me feel like a man.  Perhaps more so than any experience I have ever had.  It took about 20 seconds and five steps.  As I carried my sweet Cali across the snow from the car door to where her wheelchair was, as I cradled her in my arms and did something for her that she simply could not do for herself, I knew that I was doing the right thing at the right time.  That I was doing what the ultimate example of manhood would have me do.  Somehow it eased some of my burdens.  It's not easy being father to so many.  But it is providing me opportunities for growth and love and service that I could not experience any other way.  I still hope that when I grow up I can be the man that Father in Heaven would have me be.  I'll keep working on it.  One step at a time.



Only half awake, a groggy Lexi stumbles into our bedroom.  Jesi says, "Lexi, I can't find my glasses.  Will you help me look for them?"  Lexi replies, "Sorry Jess.  I can't right now.  I have to take a bath."  You can't make this stuff up:)

Today we attended Grandpa Great's funeral.  It was a wonderful day and fitting tribute to a great man. At the viewing, Sophi was very interested in talking to Grandpa Great and telling him goodbye.  She put her little foot on his hand and was very loving with him.  She was reasonably reverent during the service and had so much fun playing with cousins during and after the luncheon that was provided for family.  On the drive back to Grandma's house, Sophi was talking to Parker and said something about how it was sad that Grandpa Great died.  Parker replied, "But it's ok, Sophi, 'cuz now where is he?"  Sophi promptly responded, "In a box!"