January 21, 2021

A little over a year ago, my wife came up to me and asked me, “Do you mind if I go out to eat with my friends tomorrow evening?” At that moment, I thought to myself what most men with multiple little ones would think when they realize that they will be solely responsible for homework, dinner prep, bath time, and overall well being of their brood: “No way!”. Fortunately, I was able to work up the little bit of virtue I possessed, and simply said, “Sure thing. Go have fun with you friends. I got it.”

The next day I began the mental preparation.: I would make an easy meal, that way I wouldn’t be bogged down in the kitchen while I was trying to help my 3rd grader with his homework. I would make the little ones go play in the backyard while there was still daylight, get them bathed after dinner, and then have them all asleep before my wife gets home.
And then Life happened.

The noodles boiled over. My son spilled his drink. A couple of the others got in an argument, that sent the younger one into an uncontrollable sobfest. All the while, in the back of my mind I had something I wanted to get to: Finish the podcast I had begun the day before. With ever new event that life threw at me that evening, the thing that I wanted to get to at the end of the evening, my beloved podcast, was right there at the front of my mind, tainting my view of what was right in front of me, which was precious time with the children God had given me.
The evening culminated at bath time with my two youngest daughters, Zelie and Gianna. After the boiled-over noodles, spilled drink, and fight club session between siblings, to say that I was a little “short” would be an understatement. Every ounce of my body language was communicating to them, “Get in. Get clean. Get out.”

As I’m rushing to get my daughters clean, Zelie says to me, “Can we have a bubble bath?”
And then suddenly, I felt a Nudge. A little Thought that sounded like it came from me, but I knew it wasn’t from me. In my younger years, I missed these Nudges often. To be honest, I still do more times than I’d like to admit. but this time, I didn’t. I felt The Presence whisper to me in my heart of hearts, “Don’t rush it. You might not ever get to give them bubbles again.”
At that moment I felt a warmth come over me that I know was from the Holy Spirit. God’s peace came over me, and I was able to enter in and give my daughters the play time in a bubble bath that they wanted. There they were, oblivious to the chaos that was going on in my own little universe, partaking in the simple joys of bath time, playing with bubbles. And I was able to get out of myself, and see my beautiful daughters enjoy their time with one another. What began as one of the worst evenings, was now transformed to one of the best, because I stopped listening to myself saying how bad of an evening it was, and started listening to God tell me how blessed I was. Right here. Right now. The podcast wasn’t important anymore. Being present with my daughters was.

I write this, because I’m sure we all at times have our “podcasts” that keep us from entering into the beauty of the present moment. Maybe it’s preoccupation with insurance settlements, rather than working on homework with our kids. Maybe it’s vegging out on TV when your son just wants to play one on one. Maybe you’re just like me, and you just want to rush through the afternoon to get to the thing that you want, rather than entering into the beauty and mystery of family life. I challenge you to reflect on my experience, and take to prayer this question: “What are thing(s) in my life that I can’t control, that I am letting take me away from where God has placed me right now?”

I’m thankful for the gift of that evening. I have drawn upon it many evenings since. It is my hope that the Grace that God bestowed on me will be a blessing to you as well.

-Blaine Wyninger, Assistant Principal