If anything is out of the ordinary
If the contents of a room are re-arranged
If people are laughing and he doesn't get the joke
If anyone raises their voice (kidding on not)
If anyone gets a "time out"...
"What Happened? What Happened?"
If the explanation you offer is inadequate:
"What Happened? What Happened?"
Sometimes these explanations can be challenging. And with Isaac, you can't just make something up.
I think the video below (provided by Tony's zoo photography) is one of my favorite "What Happened" contexts.
This past weekend, Tony and Tara planned a really exciting day for the Rudd boys and the Corbin 3. I've posted a photo essay on the boys' blog.
All the creatures were fascinating in many ways. But for two members of our group (who happen to be in the preliminary potty-training stages) excretory function seemed to remain the central theme of every exhibit.
The animal in the video below was not very active, but was greatly enjoyed by all.
note: Isaac calls Will "Wilson" when he is excited.
But a few weeks ago, I was able to avail myself of that opportunity. I filled out the paperwork required to loose the demolition duo on calvary's unsuspecting children's ministry, and found myself a seat next to some of my other siblings.
Before I say more, it should be noted that:
1) I have a really hard to sitting through almost any type of presentation for more than 20-30 minutes (yes, I know that I have no right to complain about lengthy sermons)
2) If you know David and I, you know that we have a few divergent views on things, and some generally different ways of thinking/functioning (for instance: he's responsible, organized, and focused. He holds a job and completes advanced degrees. I barely emerged from college with a dubiously acquired bachelors degree and a career path that gets changed more often than the oil in my minivan)
So there I was in the 10:30 service:
-Surrounded by six or seven hundred nice people, a solid majority of those adults being republicans who have jobs and do not live with their mothers
-And I was listening to a 40+ minute lecture.
-And I assume that I was hearing a theological/philosophical idea or two that would not naturally resonate with my way of thinking.
Interestingly enough, none of those factors were primary in my consciousness.
I was mostly noticing how passionate and gifted my brother was. (And I'm generally pretty critical of such things)
And while he's very good at preaching/teaching/writing, it's a relatively small part of what he contributes to the church he is a part of. He's really talented at everything he does, has some innovative ideas and he works very hard (probably a little more than he should). If he hadn't abused me as his paper-route lacky 23 years ago, I'd hire him to run my company, or to do just about anything.
I think he could be pretty successful in just about any church, or any field he chose, but It's really clear to me that he cares very deeply for the people in the community that he serves as a pastor.
Sometimes I think it's got to be hard to be on staff at the church he grew up in. I don't have a lot of opportunity to observe, but over the years it seems like sometimes he has to pay twice the dues, for half the respect.
My dad's been a pastor for about 40 years. And he's been at Calvary for about 23. I think David's been there in some capacity for pretty close to a decade. That's a long time.
And I remember that it's a hard job. People have expectations and desires that are often in tension. So there's almost always someone who is unhappy and unaware of the bigger picture. Sometimes that gets expressed in unkind ways.
Lately I've observed some of that happening in ways that are beyond the typical pastor's experience. It's been difficult to watch.
First and foremost, I hurt for them. I can see that it weighs heavily on them. I wish I could do something to prevent it.
But I'm also very proud of them (and that would extend to my mom and my sister-in-law who demonstrate the same kind of commitment and experience the same kind of hurt).
While I don't regret the years I spent as pastor, I am thankful to be traveling a different route in my own spiritual journey; a route that gives me some distance from those pressures. But I'm very proud of what my they are doing, proud of their motivations, and impressed by their stamina in doing it. It's very obvious that their efforts make the world a better place in some really tangible ways.
So, when I feel that they are under-appreciated, over-scrutinized, or simply lied about, I feel some hurt on their behalf. I feel some pride toward them. But then I invariably experience a sense of confusion.
Both my dad and my brother have demanding and high stress jobs.
They both have had no shortage of opportunities to accept positions offering, more money, less stress (and probably greater sense of prestige or importance).
While they've both had some rewarding opportunities, they have both endured some very hurtful experiences.
And they both know that as long as they are focused on helping hurting people, they will receive more wounds.
I think that everyone experiences some mix of healthy and unhealthy motivations.
And everyone makes mistakes.
I don't think my brother and father are perfect.
And I don't think they are trying to enjoy or perpetrate that illusion either.
But when people assume, imply, or infer that there is a deep or pervasive insincerity behind the actions of my father or my brother...
I can only wonder what their angle "angle" might be
What's in it for them??
If you are going to embrace your dark side and employ yourself toward sinister ends, why not avail yourself of one of the many venues that richly reward such behavior?
...or at least build one of those cool christian theme parks
A Really Great Week
Halloween was a "mom day" but I got to help the boys get their spider costumes on, drive them
to Downtown Grand Haven, and photograph their trick-or-treat adventure.
(you can see a video in the post below, and more pictures here)
They seemed a little overwhelmed at first, but gained some confidence as the night went on. It's been really fun to see their personalities emerging more fully in the last few months.
After collecting scores of pictures of the boys, I made it to Katie, Ginger, and Willow's apartment in time to get some pictures of the "Dreams Come True" Fairy, and the "Miracles can Happen" Fairy.
Then I traveled with Katie and her mom to a theater in Kalamazoo for the world premiere of an independent horror film.
This was probably the first horror film I've ever watched in its entirety, and there is a good chance that I won't feel the need to see many more.
And while Katie expressed, in numerous disclaimers, the many ways in which this film was not the type of storytelling that she hopes to engage through acting... It was a *real film*. And Katie was this very believable "other person", on the big screen, with a name in the credits.
Improving the experience further, were some great/entertaining/enlightening conversations with Katie's mom (as we traveled), and the chance to briefly meet some of Katie's family from that part of the state.
In the last few months I've had the opportunity to get to know Katie pretty well. But conversations of substance have mostly been relegated to the phone, with the majority of our time spent together taking place among slides, swings, monkeybars, and the continual exploits of four very active children.
So the evening felt like a "preview" of the not-so-distant future, when it will be very natural to go to a movie, for a walk, or dinner, or simply have a face to face conversation with no interruptions until the annoyed teenager kicks us out of the coffee shop at closing time.
I'll write more about that later--the really-great-week continues...
Lately, when the boys are not with me, I have spent my time working through the details of major life transitions, downsizing, reorganizing, redeveloping my business, or editing. I'm pretty sure that I've not watched a single episode of a TV show or a movie during that time. I've spent very little time listening to music.
But this past week I got to spend Wednesday night at the theater (in the entourage of a movie-star), and then my first (and long awaited) night at the symphony on Friday.
It was absolutely amazing. I had the honor of taking my mom, who perfected the experience with her musical knowledge, binoculars, and generally exciting persona. Got to see Ryan in action, spend a little time with Gigi, and hold a short conversation with Rob and Kim.
The first part of the concert featured a world renowned cellist (maybe my favorite instrument), the second part featured the full orchestra and an incredibly moving composition (Tchaikovsky).
Special thanks to brother Ryan for the tickets, Bompa Bill for putting the boys to bed.
The Frauenthal is a beautiful setting, fall is my favorite time of year, and the spiralling melodies--driven by a perfect blend of voices-- seemed to be releasing the very best kind of chemicals into my brain.
I let my eyes relax their focus, and watched the synchronized movements throughout the string section...
....and it all seemed very, very right.
[transition post from a really-great-week to a really-great-fall]
And my life in general feels that way right now.
Not perfect, not void of stress and challenges. But very good.
July of 2006 through July of 2007 may have been one of the most difficult years of my life. 2005 had some generally rough spots as well.
But I just can't get past how fortunate I feel to have opportunities like the ones I've described in this post. So this "really great week" seems to be full of little pictures of those things that make the future seem very inviting.
and beyond those things which I've already mentioned:
My boys are developing hilarious personalities and interacting like never before. They really love each other, they learn so fast, and they can mimic almost anything they see adults doing.
Three years ago, I had no idea how much I wanted to be a father. Now I just can't imagine my life any other way. And they get more fun all the time (also their capacity for destruction increases daily).
They seem to be anchored in a very rich web of relationships. I'm so thankful for all the people that love them so well.
And though I've not been able to adequately invest in many of the relationships that are important to me, *I* feel very anchored too.
Friends, family, & xin-laws (pronounced "kzin-law") have all been very supportive in helping with the boys.
In the not too distant future, we'll all be celebrating the arrival of some important, and long awaited babies.
I'm realizing that I live in a very beautiful place (I can't believe how neglectful I've been toward that beauty in the past).
I feel healthier than I have in years, the daily headaches I once experienced seem to be dissipating, and my debilitating vomit-blood-E.R.-narcotics-headaches may be gone forever.
I can see well. My new eye doctor fitted me with contacts that allow me to see at least 20/20.
My vocational opportunities grant me parental flexibility, adequate income, and some rewarding creative opportunities. I have every reason to believe that my little company will [more than] survive its current transitional difficulties.
I should be back to work on my musical projects soon, and I'm working on two very interesting short films.
My parents have been incredible hosts for the last few months, making an extra effort to ease the sting of a living with your mother at age 31. My boys have loved the proximity to their grandparents, and plans for a future home are in the works.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner... and I feel very ready to engage the spirit of both holidays.