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renewing your Thanks…

by | Nov 29, 2020 | renew, Thanks, The Avett Brothers

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We spent about as much time at Church as we did at home during this season.  Some of it was proximity – we were the go-to for all kinds of things since we could walk there in 30 seconds.  Beth was involved in a Wednesday night dinner for the church family – the thought was: put all of the church meetings on one night, provide dinner before, and voilà, we had a community.  One year I had the bright idea to provide entertainment with The Circuit Riders (our Bluegrass band – Methodist after all…) and as it fell on my daughter’s birthday, we were now serenading her in front of 100 church members with her birth song, Amie..  Which was really not the right type of song for church, or your daughter… but life my verse is “What could possibly go wrong?  Oh – and Should I mention it was her 16th?

Becoming a parent makes you instantly the stupidest person on the planet.  Why in the world would you sign up for 1) no sleep, 2) no money, 3) constant worry, 4) college expenses, 5) teenager car insurance… you get the point.  And, if you think I have work stories, well you are blessed that I have been forbidden to tell most of these… other than this one, as it ties in perfectly with the week of Thanks.  As she was also the firstborn, like me, we had entered into the season of infinite stupidity, otherwise known as the “teens” where neither of us could do anything right… and the contest of wills would collide regularly… and the look I got from across the room still stings…

The best thing about time… it advances.  Kids grow up, mostly in spite of us, and turn into wonderful people, and then have children of their own.  And their perspective changes immediately, as did you yours… when they hand you a bundle of flesh you had a part in creating (me – mostly a bottle of wine, a nice evening…)  and you stand there and think – really.. ME?  Responsible for YOU – another little human?  Shouldn’t we check with someone?  It is similar to leadership:  you spend most of your time looking behind you, on both sides, and then gulp… yikes.  How you actually do it matters less than actually doing it.  In both cases, it has less to do with qualifications or standing, it is all about being there, and being solid when you feel like jello inside…

One of the most important things about songwriting is perspective – to observe things from a different stance.  Children shift yours for sure, and that is particularly important for the Avett’s where authenticity is listed as their key quality.  And rock-solid rhythm held down by their Bass player Bob Crawford.  If you are a parent, you know that the actual “having” part is not as easy as it sounds, and those complications arise before, during, and after they are born.  In his case, his daughter was diagnosed with cancer – twice… the second a brain tumor, robbing her and her entire family system of “normal”  There is a scene in the documentary I referenced earlier, May It Last, where they are faced with the decision that we all face about life… and faith, sometimes more directly than others:

Do you believe it?  The look on each of their faces tells the story, particularly the Avett’s – I have no idea what their faith stance was before that moment, but afterward, you know.  Bob said it this way “God was our rock.  And it was the one piece of rock we could stand on while surrounded by an ocean.  And it’s because you’re finally listening.  You’re finally listening when you’ve had everything swept out from under you.”  And he adds, “Religion on its own can be used to justify things personally or on a national scale or corporate scale that run contrary to the faith, to the gospel.”  Amen to that for sure.

I am happy to report that I survived that evening, although I am still not sure how.  I can tell you on my end of the look was simply love, and Thanks – to God for placing this amazing “tiny” human in our lives 16 years before.  It was not easy:  like most of her life, she showed up early, and our first glance at her was in a device that seems appropriate for this week – a Turkey Broaster.  Being premie, she was cold, and arrived in our room, with eyes wide open taking in everything – as she still does.  And while perfect, she had a birth defect that pales compared to Bob’s daughter, but the feeling of being pushed to realize “what do you believe?” – it resonates with me.  Particularly watching our grandkids show up, some through a similar “easy” process.  Those “Eleanor arrived today, and she and mother are doing fine”… I don’t read them as easily as I used to for sure…

… which is the text of the song today, for Scott’s first child Eleanor. For me,  I only hope that now nearly 20 years hence, and as a mother herself, she can see the humor in the “What?  Why wouldn’t that work?” 

“Thanks” seems to be way too simple a phrase to use when it comes to parenthood and faith. It is like everything I talk about in leadership, the compliment to my life verse, “Simple, but not Easy”.   And again, Thanks is a stance that sets you up for what comes next… a foundation to build on, or to wish you had when the seas rise around you.  I like to say “either you believe it or you don’t”… but that is too easy.  Are you ready for the seas? As the waves are crashing around us in this pivotal year for all of us, I only hope that you can say you have considered faith.  Oh, and should I add that that tiny human is now a Pastor?  The stakes matter most for all of us when it involves others… like Eleanor, or whoever you need to insert in the space for … For me…. Thanks, Amie for giving me… “A Father’s First Spring”

Sweetest surrender of winter

She put up her flag, it is waving

The thunder of summer is rumbling in

And I haven’t seen you in days

And my, how that feeling has changed

Oh, I have been homesick for you since we met

I have been homesick for you

I’ve got to take to the sky

And I’ll tell you what that means for you and I

If I die it’s for you

If I die it’s for you

I never lived ’til I lived in your light

And my heart never beat like it does at the sight

Of you baby blue, God blessed your life

I do not live ‘less I live in your light

I do not live ‘less I live in your light

The realest thing I ever felt

Was the blood on the floor and the love in your yell

I was a child before

The day that I met Eleanor

Kiss of the wind in the hills

The clearness of morning, the late evening thrill

Blurry and gray like the roar

The wheels on the highway, above them I soar

When I’m in the sweet daughter’s eyes

My heart is now ruined for the rest of all time

There’s no part of it left to give

There’s no part of it left to give

I never lived ’til I lived in your light

And my heart never beat like it does at the sight

Of you baby blue, God blessed your life

I do not live ‘less I live in your light

I do not live ‘less I live in your light

I do not live

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