Christian Living family

When Daddy is Away

It’s inevitable.

All of the chaos happens when I leave town. 

On Monday afternoon Kristen dropped me off at the San Diego airport. All was calm and under control in the McLane clan. Leaving Kristen for 5 days with Megan, (10) Paul, (7) and Jackson (4 months) was hard. I really didn’t want to leave them. We all wished I didn’t have to do this trip. Not because I was dreading going on the trip or being in Minnesota but simply because it’s been so long since I’ve been away. And I’ve really loved being home more.

At the same time we were prepared for daddy to be gone for a few days and for Kristen to manage the kids, and the house, and her job, and the kids school. (They go year-round, getting out July 15th) The older two are growing very independent… helpful even. In many ways, when I’m gone is like an exam. Can they handle more responsibility? Let’s hope so because they need to! 

I checked in with Kristen Monday night when I landed in Minneapolis. All was calm and everyone was tucked in and sleeping away.

My Tuesday was rushed in visiting with all of my fellow co-workers at YouthWorks, meetings, the normal. Then I got a call from a weird 619 number. I let it go to voice mail but quickly checked it. It said, “Mr. McLane, this is the nurse at Darnall Elementary School. We have Paul here in the office and he’s been injured on the playground. We’ll need you to come get him as soon as possible. Please call us right away.”

My heart leapt and sank at the same time. My instinct told me to grab my keys and go get him. But my reality was that I’m a 4 day drive away. I quickly connected with Kristen, who was dashing to get him.

He had broken his arm in an accident on the playground. Our first ER trip as parents and I missed it.

Kristen and I exchanged a hundred text messages while they were at the ER. Paul and Amy, dear friends, came to the rescue and took Megan and Jackson for the afternoon. While Paul waited nearly 3 hours to get an x-ray and a cast… I wasn’t there. 

It seems like this always happens. Important things happen when daddy is out-of-town. Last year, Kristen was rear-ended while I was on a trip to Washington state. I’ve missed kids losing teeth. Or winning an award at school. Or epic small group nights with major breakthroughs. Doctors appointments when Kristen was pregnant. Bed times, quiet times, crazy times, thrills, spills, shrills, and the immediate stills of realizing it’d all be OK.

When daddy is away stuff happens. Life doesn’t stop at home. It’s inevitable. And it kills me. And while I know Kristen is a trooper/super power mom/amazingly strong woman who can handle it all I want to be there, with her, when these things happen. I want to be there.

What does this have to do with you?

Our Heavenly Father is the same way. While He never leaves us sometimes we go far from Him. And life moves on. Stuff happens, chaos reigns, victories occur, and sometimes bones break. For every bed time, quiet time, crazy time, thrills, spills, shrills, and the immediate stills of realizing it’ll all be OK– Our Heavenly Father wants the intimacy of sharing those moments with us.

His heart breaks for His children when they are away from Him. He wants to be there.

Maybe it’s time for you to come home? 

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

I’m going home tomorrow to Kristen and the kids. But maybe today you need to go home and be with your Father? 


Put up or shut up

Photo by Cindy Seigle via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I’m from Indiana. A big part of my childhood involved playing basketball in driveways.

From the time the ice melted until we could hear the band playing and crowd cheering from Notre Dame stadium all we did was play basketball. We’d get off the bus and play 21. We’d have breakfast on Saturday then play 21 until lunch… followed by 15-20 more games of 21 until dinner.

When we could get 6-7 people together we’d play half court, make it take it to 10. Usually, it was 3-4 guys playing 21 until our fingers cracked or palms were white and the rest of our hands were black with dirt.

Everyone in the neighborhood knew everyone else’s moves. They knew who to guard from outside and who to push to their left hand in the lane. We knew who had an unstoppable jump hook. And we knew who couldn’t make a layup. There was even a kid so good at free throws that we had to make a new rule, after 7-check-up.

But the biggest rule of them all? Put up or shut up.

Photo by DonkerDink via Flickr (Creative Commons)

It never failed that the kids who didn’t play very much ran their mouth the most about how good they were. You’d hear them in the hallways at school trying to convince everyone that they could play. And you’d hear them on the bus all the way home.

Then we’d all get off at their stop, take their ball out of their bushes, roll it to them and say… Put up or shut up.

We’d call their bluff. Maybe they really could play? But usually not.

What does that phrase mean? Simply put, let your actions speak for themselves. It’s easy to run your mouth and tell people how good you are. But can you deliver?

In my neighborhood the best players didn’t have to tell people how good they were. They let their game speak for itself.

And chumps like me? We just kept out mouths shut.

All talk, no show

This same principle applies today.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to someone running their mouth about something. They know how to do my job better than me. Or they know how to do someone else’s job better than them so they are just trying to prove how smart they think they are to me.

They know how to minister to my youth group better than me. They know how to parent, to budget, to garden, to _____ [insert verb] better than I do.

And sometimes I just wish we were back in middle school so I could follow them off the bus, go fish the basketball out of their bushes, pass it to them and say “Put up or shut up.

Looking in the mirror

My dad says a phrase that I think about all the time, “Don’t write a check that you can’t cash.” I think about that a lot. Especially when I run my mouth about what I can do, want to do, or should do.

I need to make sure that I’m not just talking about things for the sake of talking about them but that I’m willing to “cash those checks” with my life.

Church leadership culture is quick to celebrate the person with the loudest megaphone who says the quote worthy thing that gets retweeted all over the heavens.

That’s a whirpool of “put up or shut up”  that I want no part of. Eventually, someone is going to ask them to cash that check.

Instead, I’d rather just keep my mouth shut and do my best to let my game speak for itself.