My Life as a P.K: Daddy Clothes

Post one of my series “My Life as a P.K.” Feel free to read my introductory post to this series to see what it’s all about.

I heard the key in the lock. “Daddy’s home” I thought to myself. This was one of my favorite moments of the day as a little girl. Dad would walk in the door as Father Jim, dressed head to toe in black with just a sliver of a white collar around his neck. His job was being a Father, but when he walked in the door he was my daddy. After he said “hi” and gave hugs to my sisters and I, my parents usually went back to their room to have a few minutes to talk about their days. My two favorite people being unavailable to me and the anticipation of how dad would be dressed when they came out made this the longest 10 minutes of my little elementary school life. Would he be wearing Daddy clothes or still be in Father clothes?

Father clothes were his black clergy shirt with a white collar. Daddy clothes (anything casual) held a much more significant meaning to me. When Dad would come home and change into shorts and a t-shirt it meant for that evening I only had to share him with my sisters and my mom. It meant that he was available to help me with homework, to play, to read Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia. It also meant that he could tuck me in, say prayers with me, and tell me a story (he is an amazing storyteller).

If he stayed in his Father clothes it meant that he was only home for a few minutes. Often it meant that he was home for a quick dinner but then he was needed elsewhere. People needed their Father, so I would share my Daddy.

This is an interesting way to learn the concept of sharing and it did not come easily. I remember clearly the disappointment I would feel if he received a phone call that would require him to change back into his Father clothes. I had no ability as a small child to understand that someone having a crisis (going to the hospital, death in the family, etc.) was more important in that moment than helping me with my math homework or wrestling or building huge blanket forts in the living room.

I was lucky that my dad did his best to balance being a Father and being a Daddy. He certainly made his relationship with the family a huge priority. We had a few intentional rules to keep to keep it that way, the one I remember most clearly was that if the phone rang during dinner (WAY back when the only way to call someone was a landline or beeper) it was not answered until everyone was finished eating and the dishes were being done.

If you are a pastor with small children, please find ways to set aside church business, and put on your “daddy clothes” whatever that means for you and your family. It will mean the world to your kids.

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Review of “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning

I had grand plans of reading much more than I did during Advent and Christmas. The combination of final projects, friends coming into town, Doctor Who and being sick for a couple of weeks kept me from reading as much as I wanted to (good excuses huh? If I had wanted to read more, I would have. I found it surprisingly difficult to be motivated/find the discipline even though every time I sat down to read I loved it). However, instead of getting frustrated with myself and giving up on the books I want to read I will just continue to read through my stack, no matter how long it takes me.

I finished The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning yesterday morning. It is an excellent book that challenged me to think about my priorities when it comes to faith. It is easy as Christians to get caught up on doctrine, details, and hot topic issues (abortion, gay rights, etc.). When we do this we often lose sight of the core of our faith and who Jesus really is. The tag line of the book is “Good news for the bedraggled, beat up, and burnt out.” For someone who easily becomes all three of those things, it certainly was good news.

If I had to pick two key words from this book they would be Love and Grace. This book resonated with me deeply because of my experiences with God’s love and His grace, especially in the past year. It was an excellent reminder of His crazy, radical love. This book helped me take another step toward being okay with failure. We as humans mess up. I’ve never been okay with that. My mom even had to look at me one time in Middle School and say “Angela, stop beating yourself up about this. Getting in trouble is a part of growing up. It is okay to get in trouble.” I would guess this would be on my mom’s list of “100 things I Never Thought I Would Say as a parent” and it has stuck with me through the years. It’s a VERY slow learning process but I’m starting to realize that failure is unavoidable and something to be learned from, not dreaded. Grace is beautiful (and very patient).

Here are a few of my favorite quotes (a very small sampling, I HIGHLY recommend this book):

“To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace. Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners.” (Ch. 4: Tilted Halos)

“The nature of God’s love for us is outrageous. Why doesn’t this God of ours display some taste and discretion in dealing with us? Why doesn’t He show more restraint? To be blunt about it, couldn’t God arrange to have a little more dignity? Wow! … No, the love of our God isn’t dignified at all, and apparently that’s the way He expects our love to be. Not only does He require that we accept His inexplicable, embarrassing kind of love, but once we’ve accepted it, He expects us to behave in the same way with others.” (Ch. 9: The Second Call)

“Heightened by the agnosticism of inattention–the lack of personal discipline over media bombardment, mind control, sterile conversation, private prayer, and the subjugation of the senses–the presence of Jesus grows more and more remote. Just as the failure to be attentive dissolves confidence and communion in a human relationship, so inattention to the Holy unravels the fabric of the divine relationship.” (Ch. 10: The Victorious Limp)

“The ragamuffin who sees his life as a voyage of discovery and runs the risk of failure has a better feel for faithfulness than the timid man who hides behind the law and never finds out who he is at all. Winston Churchill said it well: ‘Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.'” (Ch. 10: The Victorious Limp)

If you have read this book I would love to hear your thoughts!