Captain Hook and I

I was sitting on my Uncle’s porch in Maryland last weekend reading my Bible and drinking my coffee when my oldest daughter (the introvert) came out to spend some time in the warmth of the rising sun with me.

It was a really precious time.

As I sat there reading and meditating, she started talking about Peter Pan and Captain Hook.  I got to thinking…

I am Captain Hook.

I wanted to be Peter Pan.  Truth be told, I have often put Peter Pan more or less in the position of somebody I would like to be someday.  Free…  Wild…  Adventurous…

It clicked that morning by the pool that I share a lot more in common with Captain Hook than I realized.

1.  Captain Hook is haunted by an alligator that has swallowed a clock.  It is really neat for me to think about an Alligator and a clock going hand in hand.  Time moves constantly on, the hands of the clock can never be stopped and time will consume everything in its path.  I think a lot about time, not simply as a law of life, but as a character in my story.  I cannot escape the effects of time.  If I am unprepared, selfish, unobservant, etc., time will be upon me and will consume something in my life.  I will have to work very hard to recover what I lost or have to learn how to live without it.  Sounds a lot like a man with a hook in the place of a hand that was swallowed by a tick tocking alligator.  Likewise, if I am prepared and I am living wisely, then I am rewarded by seeing the fruit that comes with time.  Almost like planting a garden and then seeing a happy little alligator carrying a basket of carrots and tomatoes to my house.  Silly… I know…   In the end Hook and I are both running from and fighting with time, in the form of an alligator or not, we both engage in this dance.

2.  Captain Hook is in constant pursuit of Peter Pan.  Peter Pan seems to really symbolize youth and freedom.  Hook has a ship full of pirates to look after and command as well as a mission to accomplish.  He has the gift of age and maturity which has produced the burden of responsibility upon his shoulders.  Yet the single greatest pursuit of his life is this youth, free and wild.  It is interesting to me that Hook runs from time and chases youth.  I do not chase youth per se.  I do not do much of anything to make me look or feel younger.  I am actually very VERY happy to be ageing at the rate that I am and I embrace my age.  I’m happy to be the age that I am and I look forward to getting older, even though I know there are some hard things that come with that.  I cannot help but reminisce about my youth and dream about being young again.  I find myself getting carried away by hobbies sometimes and then discover that, in those moments, I am chasing my youth.  Hiking, hunting, fishing, riding my bicycle, running around with the kids in the yard… these all remind me of being young and I pursue those activities with a vengeance.  My kids are truly lucky!!

3.  Whether you knew this or not, Hook tries to make Wendy his mother as well as the mother of the pirates under his command.  Amazing.  He is looking for some kind of loving, gentle, caring, affirming, emotional connection that he currently does not have in his life.  These things are well symbolized in the idyllic mother.  It is no question that I look for these things too.  My wife has been a true blessing to me.  She has given so many of these things to me and has helped me figure out how to receive these things for myself from Jesus, but it does not change the fact that my heart looks for these things often.

In short…  Captain Hook runs from time and the consequences time brings, chases his youth, and pursues a gentle, affirming love just like me.

I am Captain Hook.

I was Captain Hook.

Though I still feel all of the things I just mentioned, there is one major difference.

Captain Hook is perpetually engaged in a vain pursuit of hopelessness.

I am not.

I feel the pressure of time every time he comes around.  Instead of running from him, I live wisely.  I make the most of every moment because that clock marches on and I will be measured in the end.  Instead of running I engage.  It kind of takes the teeth out of the Alligator and makes him more of a pet than a menacing creature.  I play with my kids, I read my Bible, I cherish my wife, I exercise, I read a lot, I go for walks, I forgive, I give grace to my friends, I ask questions, and I generally want to intimately know others as well as to be known.  I am actively building my life with an eye on time and an eye on the standard to which I will be measured.

I do not chase my youth.  I do not subscribe to the magazines that sell youth and insecurity to men, I do not care at all that my face has hard lines and wrinkles in it or that my gut hangs lower than it used to.  It does not bother me that I am slower than guys I work with who are younger or that I am sore for longer after a hike than I used to be.  I spend no money (and thus no time) on trying to look, sound, smell, or act like I did 10 years ago, or like those who are 10 years younger than I am.  I have found a deep sense of satisfaction and pleasure in maturity.  I find confidence in my thoughts and attitudes which comes from having spent time thinking about life and engaging in life.  I enjoy the confidence that comes from competence which seems to come from a solid investment of time, thinking, and making mistakes.  I look forward to the next 20, 30, or 40 years of learning and growing more competent and confident in who I am.

I know that I am deeply loved and cherished.  I know that I am pursued with a passionate vengeance.  Just because I feel the ache of desire which longs for love and affirmation does not mean that I am not loved or affirmed, it simply means that I want it badly and that I appreciate it immensely when I receive it.  I do not need to go looking for it very often because it is very often brought to me when I am not looking.

I can identify very much with Captain Hook.  I really can.  I guess the truth is I used to be Captain Hook…   wanting to be Peter Pan.

Now I know who I am…   And I am pretty sure that Captain Hook and Peter Pan wish they were more like me!

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Thanks for reading.

Day 1 Done…

Eternity to go.  Or that is at least how it feels.

Class went well today.  Mostly just paperwork and the meet and greet with the instructor staff.

As I sat in class today listening to the stories and really letting the weight of what I have just embarked upon sink in a little bit more, I realized that I am really pretty nervous.  This is not like me normally so I spent some time trying to figure out the source of this twinge of anxiety.

I am not afraid to fail (even though I never have), I am afraid of succeeding.  There seems to be a deep fear in me that says I will do well in this course, like I have in every course I have started, and then I will get to the job and not be prepared.  I will know the book answers, but won’t be able to function in reality.  I heard a theme with the instructors today… trust the course… you will be ready.

I had to think about the rest of my life also.

I do not want to study in order to pass the tests and practical evaluations in my class just to fail on the job.  Am I now doing what is “right” by my family so that I can pass the tests in life?  Am I investing in my kids now so that when they are teenagers or college kids, I will have a good relationship with them resulting in my good grade?  Or am I more concerned about preparing now so that I can reign with Christ in Heaven?

This struggle in me has been communicated by others in this way…

Do I live for the applause of men or for the applause of Heaven?

If I am studying for the test, then I am living for the applause of men.

If I am preparing for the reality to come then I am living for the applause of heaven.

When thinking about the school, I do not want to fail at all.  I want to be good at my job and I do not want to cause harm to anybody around me.  I want to be trusted and I want to have the ability to take care of other people.  I will have to trust those who have gone before me, those who have set the example for me, and I will have to follow their advice.

Trust the course… you will be ready.

I live with an incredibly deep insecurity that screams at me each day with an incessant voice of rage and terror that says the time is coming and you are not ready… will not be ready…

I feel that pressure in so many things.  This is the pressure that causes me to naturally be such a “do-er.”

I would like to start living out of a sense of preparedness instead of a sense of dread for the future.  I want to start tasting the life I now have for what it is worth as opposed to tasting the bitterness of loss which has not yet occurred.

I feel the tension of having my eyes on the horizon, ever vigilant for what is coming and distant from what is currently happening around me.  I feel as though, if I stop looking at the horizon and focus on what is around me, I will not see the mountain and we will crash and burn because of my failure, but if I keep my eyes on the horizon, we will reach the destination and my family and friends will disembark as strangers to me instead of those with whom I have developed intimacy.

Woops…

I did not plan out this post.  I wanted to check in after the first day and say things went well.  Then I rambled about my heart a bit.

Oh well…  thanks for reading.

Here we go again…

It has been a little while but we have finally settled down after the move. Or rather, we are settling down enough that I can get back to writing and reflecting a little bit.

A little bit of admin stuff up front…

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We moved out of our house March 16. We slept in our own beds again May 13. Almost 2 months of living out of bags and sleeping on floors! It was quite an adventure. Please Please Please do not think that we were having a hard time. It seems as though we did not suffer at all.

One of my objectives for the trip was to spend some time together as a family and see if we could strengthen some of relationships. There are some wounds in my kids that I have caused and I wanted to see if I could spend those months trying to reconcile their little hearts to mine.

It seems to have worked well. Now that I understand the hearts of my older kids a little bit better, we were able to connect in a more deliberate manner. My oldest daughter, the introvert, would sit next to me for 6 hours at a time.  It was most comfortable for me to ride with my right arm resting across the seat-backs, and so my hand would rest on her shoulder.  We wouldn’t talk about much, but the moments we did spend talking were precious.

Sleeping on the floor wasn’t bad either.  We got to stay with family, friends, friends who are family, and family who are friends.  All in all it was such a great trip.  Spent time with a range of people like folks that my wife and kids have never met and that I have dearly missed (Thanks for the grape juice bro!), as well as family that we saw last Christmas.

And now we are here.

I have a lot of butterflies in my stomach right now.  It feels like tomorrow is the first day at a new school…  probably because it is.  I’m more excited than I am nervous or anxious.  I do wonder if I have what it takes.  I’m not so concerned about graduating, I wonder if I have what it takes to actually be the sole medical provider on a submarine.

I’m sure it will be fine.

My soul rests as I wait.

Thanks for being patient with us as we travelled.

Thanks so much too for letting us sleep on your floors!!   I cannot think of a better way to explore this great nation of ours!!

 

Until next time…

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