Something very beautiful transpired in my spirit recently. A special connection reborn like the spring air with three other human beings.
I am on my way home from running errands. My oldest son, Donny calls. “Hey Dad, whatcha doing?”
Now that usually means one of two things. The first is can we come over for dinner and hang out. The second is can you watch the kids.
My first question is “Have you talked to your mother?”
That was the second time that day one of my sons had called me out of the blue. Sometimes, I go a week or two without hearing from them. I understand that they are busy living their lives.
While I was in the Navy, I went two years without seeing my mom, dad, or brothers. I was stationed overseas in Sicily at the time. A long distance phone call could add up fast back then. Now a lost art, I did write letters.
The first call was my youngest son, Clarence, who called just to chat. He works his regular job and works on the side, so I don’t hear from him as often as I would prefer.
We had a lovely conversation for about an hour. I truly listened to hear — HIS VOICE. After our talk with him, there was electricity in the air.
The eldest called to see if I wanted to hang out with him and his two sons.
My oldest and namesake, Donald III — Donny — is a father of four with one on the way. He is a hardworking provider who cherishes his time with his wife and children. He is an electrician by trade, youth pastor, drummer for his worship team.
We have spent many hours jamming; Donny playing the drums, me on guitar, with some backtracks.
My oldest grandson, Landon is thirteen, quiet, studious, a highly intelligent bookworm, who loves music. He plays Violin and Piano. A quiet introvert, Landon is best engaged when one-on-one. Then he comes out of his shell. He has a very dry subtle humor that will catch you off guard.
Landon and I have a Christmas Eve tradition. I take him out with me while I shop. We eat, drink coffee, and shop. For me, It is more about spending quality time with him than shopping.
Christmas Eve is the most miserable time to go shopping.
Bentley is six, and just the opposite — he is small for his size yet rambunctious, full of energy, loud, and present.
If most people are candles, Bentley is a flare.
You never know which character he will be in when you see him. He has an assortment of costumes he wears. Bentley is a method actor in the making.
For all his energy and intensity, He eats like a bird. Bentley may eat like a bird, but he roars like a lion. Bentley exercises my inner child. I let him out to play when Bentley is around.
I enjoy my time with each one in a unique way. But, I enjoy our boy’s outings.
They came over short notice. Kathy was going shopping, and we had planned to eat leftovers.
Years of culinary expertise, I threw on some steaks — well tube steaks (hotdogs) on to boil. We had leftover Mac and Cheese and whatever other leftovers I could scrape out of the fridge.
Grammy — who was heading out for an extended shopping expedition — suggested we rent a movie from Red Box. We had a free coupon.
After some discussion, we decided on “Wonder Woman.” I had not seen the movie yet; everyone said it was a good movie.
We left, I forgot the coupon hanging on the fridge.
My grandkids love when I take them to Starbucks. I did not tell them we were going there. I thought it would be a pleasant little surprise. Besides, there is a Redbox at Krogers across the street.
Grammy had us boxed in the driveway. While waiting for her to leave, I chose Cold Play from my playlists. I cranked up the music.
When the boys are on the move it is imperative you choose the right playlist. From heaven, I heard a celestial voice, “Cold Play!” Okay, a little overdramatic. It was the first thing, I saw on my Amazon Music App.
On our way, Paradise came on which is one of my favorite Cold Play songs. The music was cranked up well above Karaoke levels to ensure that I was not drowning out Chris Martin, the lead singer. For which, everyone was grateful.
I was at that place where you become one with the music. I hear right behind me this kid’s voice nearly harmonizing with Chris. Bentley had become one with the music also. He was singing unapologetically with all his heart Paradise! Paradise! With Bentley sitting behind me, I could hear him clear as the day.
Hearing that little voice behind me, I was in Paradise. Enjoying that present moment — The meaning of life became very clear to me. Live and love with all your being.
This moment set the tone for the evening. For all I know, my son, grandsons could have been bored to death. I stepped through each moment that night giving each my undivided attention.
You see so much deeper into that person when you are fully engaged.
When they sense you are engaged, sometimes they reciprocate, and genuine connection happens.
Most of the time, we are barely aware, semiconscious beings drifting through time. Instead of listening and engaging in real conversation, We focus on what we are thinking and what we want to say.
When distractive thinking slows and focused attention surfaces, we are ready to connect on a much deeper level.
I asked myself,
Is it possible to live your life like this all the time?
Is this living in the present?
Is this simplicity of spirituality?
We humans overcomplicate spirituality through our dogmatic traditions, well stated theological propositions, and philosophical mandates.
You can’t create or force these moments you just surrender. Surrender like the surfer waiting for his wave. When it comes, ride that wave for all it is worth.