Makin' mischief with my son is prolly one of the highlights of being a dad. One recent Saturday morning was spent googly eyeing various objects. But then we were quickly sidetracked. River put googly eyes on his chin and a mustache wrong way round on his mouth. We shot an hours worth of videos of crazy googly-eyed chin man monologuing Shakespeare's Richard III and Chesterton's "Man Who Was Thursday". Then Tom Stoppard and Monty Python had their turns and finally a Macbethian soliloquy on mortality. We laughed til we ached and tears streamed down my face. There is something healing about that kind of laughter. Couldn't get the video loaded but here are a few stills.
Monday there was more mischief. We bought some over-sized post-it notes and made messages for strangers and slipped them slyly into the appropriate books at our local Books-a-million.
I'll be heading back to bel Ayiti soon. I am excited and miss her so very much. But it is always bittersweet, leaving my son again. I am not a great dad, somedays maybe not even a good dad. Never claimed to be. But I love my son desperately and times away from him can be brutal.
A few weeks ago I read a book called "A Million Miles In A Thousand Years" by Donald Miller. It is sort of a companion book to "Love Does" by Bob Goff. In fact the two authors are friends and the books reference the friendship and each others books. I read "Love Does" first and recommend it the other way around I suppose, but either way they are both well worth a read. The basic premise in both, is that our lives are a story. A story that should be whimsical and wonderful and yes, even full of mischief.
I have a friend Kerry. He used to hitchhike when he was a teenager. Kerry wasn't a restless soul looking for a ride out west, no, Kerry was a prankster. He would get into the vehicle with whatever poor soul had unwittingly picked him up and then once they got going good he would start to talk about the strangest, most ridiculous things, acting all sorts of goofy just trying to get kicked out. He also would hitchhike in his tightey whiteys, just for kicks and giggles. Anyway, he never died doing it, but one time a guy picked him up and no matter how strange Kerry acted the guy wouldn't pull over, wouldn't let Kerry out. Finally Kerry threatened to jump out of the speeding car and was released onto the highway shoulder once more. Listening to Kerry recount the mischief of his youth re-ignited memories of my teenage years. When I was full of mischief, when I was willing to do just about anything for a laugh.
I don't know exactly what I am trying to say, only that life gets in the way of living. That as we grow big our wonder tends to grow small, withers in the shadows of our grown up world. It is with more than a tinge of embarrassment that I admit there are times when my son must remind me to lighten up. Anyway, this is not a treatise on levity in an age of brokenness, nor a call to a cavalier lifestyle when there are so many deeply disturbing injustices that need to be urgently addressed in our hurting world. It is perhaps just my way of verbalizing, to myself mostly, the need for joy, God's joy, unspeakable and full of glory in these so often grief gray days. And that a life of loving God and others should sometimes, at least once in a while, be filled with belly laughter. And that there is a really profound reason why Jesus wants us to come to Him like a child, full of awe and maybe just a little mischief.