Monday, July 24, 2017

Mischief during midterm break

Midterm is a bad idea
This is my dad’s opinion
What else has the power to transform
This sweet boy into a minion?

So, I was supposed to sleep
‘til seven or ‘til eight
A sunrise drum-roll I thought good
Now the drums are out the gate

Breakfast seemed a good idea
For everyone in bed
The kitchen in a mess I left
And out the door I fled

Into the garden I did go
Garden sheers in hand
To prune the roses for my mom
Now there’s nothing left but sand

My doggy, Roxy helped me dig
She was full of mud
I quickly poured her a bubble-bath
The house was then in flood

What is a boy supposed to do
Water flowing down the hall?
I skated like a real old pro
And never once did fall

My parents rose eventually
Speechless at the sight
My mommy climbed right back in bed
My dad still stunned with fright

Of course this poem exaggerates
Dad says its only play
But now that I am back at school
For my teachers he will pray

"Surely the Lord is in this place--and I did not know it."

On Sunday, I preached on the text: Genesis 28:10-19.

Jacob fascinates me. His life is riddled with deception and lies. Here is a story of Jacob meeting God.

Some ideas that spoke to me:

- Jacob thought his plans came to fruition;
- Jacob was on the run;
- Jacob finds himself in the middle of nowhere;
- God meets with Jacob;
- Jacob's response: "Surely the LORD is in this place--and I did not know it!"

The Lord is in this place--and I did not know it.

The broken place, the unholy place, the darkness, the middle of nowhere, a rock for a pillow..."The Lord is in this place--and I did not know it.

God reveals, God spoke in a language that Jacob understood.

Of course Jacob was caught off-guard. He was afraid, but then a change in perspective:

"How awesome is this place! This is none other that the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven".

The place of pain, loneliness, despair, becomes for Jacob the gates of heaven.

And the rock for a pillow becomes a pillar, anointed as a beacon of remembrance.

This is not an attempt to tell anyone that they should look beyond the pain and find God.

Not at all. These thoughts just spoke to me, very profoundly.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The sacred moment of letting go.

There is something holy in that liminal moment of letting go. I wonder if anyone realised what a profound and daring act they participated in as they let go of their child's hand, seeing him or her off to attend their first day at school. This is especially true for the parents of the Grade 1's. Do they realise that this is the day which they will talk about in coming years when they say "I remember your first day at school…". This is the moment that these young children will recall as when they entered 'big school'.

The tears and the fears, the joy and excitement should not be taken lightly. This is a pivotal moment, one that no one is ready for. As parents, we reach these moments all too soon. We wonder whether we did all the necessary things to prepare our children for this, their next phase of life. As I clasp my children's hands, a final word of advice is offered, as if it will make any difference. The bell rings and I have to let go…

The repetitive nature of this 'letting go' is traumatising enough – letting go to go to school…letting go to have fun with friends…letting go when you hear: "Dad, mom, if you don't mind, don't walk with me to class…". Of course I mind!...but I have to let go and trust that you are ready. You are strong…you are brave…you are confident…I need to believe that you can do this, and you can!

My role as parent is changing. I will always be a parent, but how I am a parent is evolving. I suppose that I am no longer the primary voice, the number one friend, the one who sets the agenda and who makes all the decisions. I realise that you can dress yourself, dish up for yourself, and arrange your bedroom like you want it… I am, in a different way, and will always be your loving safety net.

I suppose it is hard for me to let go, because I know that in your eagerness, you will make mistakes and get hurt. You will also hurt others and you will hurt us. As much as I would like to shield you from the mistakes we made in our youth, letting go also means allowing you to make your own mistakes and to learn from these. Please remember my words: It is clever to learn from your own mistakes; it is wise to learn from the mistakes of others.

I don't want to let go, but I must, for your sake and for ours.

It is for these reasons that I do not underestimate the importance of this moment, but I treat it with respect, as a sacred moment, appreciating it for what it is: you are growing up and we have the tremendous privilege of being part of this process. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Another poetry festival for the boys, another poem...

Where on earth did we find this dog? – Wessel Bentley

When Milo got his baby sister
His life was turned upside-down
Instead of a soulful, peaceful friend
She turned out to be a clown

Every morning it starts like this:
With a nibble on his ear
A lick and a bark then he wakes from sleep
What’s up next? Oh dear…

The pillows lie there scattered
Her blanket’s on the lawn
When and how did she get that right
It is not even dawn

Our shoes are her new chew toys
Milo’s now under my bed
The old boy got the fright of his life
When she dropped one on his head

That’s it, no more of this silly play
And Milo is off like a flash
Chasing Roxy around the house
That’s what she wanted…a dash

Roxy Schnauzer is a dog unique
She’s as naughty as can be
But the mischief in her eyes say much:

She must have learnt from me!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Another poem

It's poem recital time again! Nathan came with a tall order: "Dad, please write me a poem with the theme 'My kitten always copies me'. Okay, here goes:

My kitten always copies me – Wessel and Nathan Bentley

My kitten always copies me
I don’t know what to do
He thinks he is a human being
Cat doesn’t have a clue

Today he started follow’n me
Making my way to school
Jumping, skipping on my shadow
Cat makes me look uncool

In class I had to give a speech
And talk about a cow
I barely had a chance to speak
When Cat began to MIAO!

At break we went outside to eat
He wanted something too
I had to find him milk to drink
Cat drank it from my shoe!

I tell you when I go to bed
To have a peaceful rest
Guess who I’ll find when I look down
Cat, sleeping on my chest

Tomorrow I will break the news
To this, my furry pal
He may do all things that I do

Except ride my bicycle!