God is good.
A poem I wrote back in college … inspired and written then, but I finally feel like I understand why as day dawns today.
The Sun With Your Face Rises
The sun with your face rises
On a world so dark and alone.
Your eyes, like sweet surprises,
Bring light to my heart and home.
Your smile advances my morning.
The cock, it sings your praise.
Bringing hope of a new day dawning
With your quiet and tender ways.
So sing! young jay and robin,
Sing angels, cherub too!
For the Lord has sent from heaven
My joy, my love, my you!
Following the recent flooding and water backup cleanup in our basement, my uncle Roy came over to check on our sump pump and clean out our sump pump well.
While cleaning it out he encountered a horrifying creature of epic horror. Who knows how long this monster was living under our roof (and not paying rent!). He courageously faced and vanquished the creature. Our hero! It is now gone. Here is a picture of the hideous creature that I took before his removal. (Some things you just gotta see to believe.)
Just yesterday, I was getting ready to leave for work, and as I headed toward the door, another horrifying creature blocked my exit. It was either him or me. Praise God for being with me in battle. I was the victor!
I will leave it to your imagination how humongous these two monsters were. But my guess is that they were much larger than you might imagine, and more terrifying than I would have.
But now I can’t help but wonder….what other ungodly and terrifying creatures are lurking in the dark corners of my own home? Or who knows…maybe even under my own bed! When might another suddenly and horribly surprise attack or pounce? Could they be plotting a takeover? And will I be ready?
My hope is in The Lord. Thank God for granting us dominion (and size!) over such things. Because some of his creations are just plain creepy.
Today, April 26th, 2013, would have been my dad’s 70th birthday.
Happy 70th Birthday, Dad!
Here are a some of my favorite memories of his birthdays.
When I was 6, we were planning a surprise 30th birthday party for my dad at our house. It was going to be a big party with lots of family and friends.
The day of the party, my mom, my brother Michael, my cousin John and I walked to the store to get some final things we needed for the party.
On the way home, we went to cross a side street, and my younger cousin John took my hand and started running across the street with me in tow. A couple of steps later, I was knocked to the ground by a car that had just turned the corner. I think I had a concussion because memories that followed are a bit hazy. The woman driving the car took us to the hospital. Pretty much the next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital with my mom and dad there. I asked about the party and my mom said she had to tell my dad about the surprise party that night. I felt bad that the surprise had been ruined. They asked if I wanted to stay overnight at the hospital or go home. Of course I wanted to go home to the party. They said if I went home I would have to stay in bed or on the couch all night and rest. I went home. The party went on, and was a bit of a disappointment for me because the surprise part of the party was ruined, and because all my cousins were there playing, but I was on the couch all night.
When my dad’s 60th birthday was approaching, I asked my mom if I could plan a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad. She was reluctant to endorse it, but when I told her I thought dad would love it, that I would handle most of the planning, that I wanted a chance to surprise dad to make up for the surprise failure of his 30th birthday party, and told her I wanted to honor my father with a party in his honor, she relented. The only condition was that I didn’t do the same for her. Dad loved a good party and being the center of attention. Mom enjoys parties too, but does not like being the center of attention. (If you ever wonder why we’re not throwing a big surprise party for one of my mom’s milestone birthdays, like the one later this year!, it’s not because I/we love her any less, but because I honor her wishes and my promise to her when she indulged my will to throw the party for my dad. Thanks, Mom!)
The 60th birthday party we planned for my dad, exactly 30 years to the day of the day after I got hit by the car and foiled the 30th birthday surprise, and exactly 10 years ago today, was a huge success, a surprise to my dad, and the best birthday party ever in my mind.
The party plan was for an “Ed Novick, This Is Your Life…On A Spit” Roast and fundraiser dinner for the American Cancer Society – an organization my dad supported having been plagued by cancer at various times in his own life (as I recall we had around 110 guests and raised over $700 for AMC with that event.) The concept was conceived based on ideas that I gleaned from years of watching impressionable television shows as a kid. In particular, the shows, and some of the emcees that presented them, included This Is Your Life, The Dean Martin Roast, and the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis have always been a couple of my favorite performers even before I ever learned that they were once a famous performing entertainment team. I loved watching these three shows as a kid, for the heart-warming and laugh-inducing stories that they shared. I admired Martin and Lewis for the entertaining and caring people they seemed to be on television.
Months in advance of the party, I called a meeting of my dad’s siblings and my brother and told them my ideas for the party. They were very supportive and helped out immensely to pull the party details off, especially my aunt Judy (thanks to her and all who helped!).
I asked about eight of my dad’s best friends and close family members, also some of the funniest guys I knew, to prepare a 5 to 10 minute roast speech about my dad. I then set to work to plan the details and script around each of the roast speeches as emcee of the event, full of entertaining visuals, audio and gags.
What came together that night was divinely inspired wonderful human loving connection, television magic and one of the most fun and memorable days my dad ever had. My cousin Jimmy videotaped the roast for us (and did a good job – thanks, Jimmy!), and my dad loved watching the video again and again for years that followed even up to his last days. I still have that videotape, and watch it when I can. It is a funny and heart-warming reminder of how loved my dad was, how much I loved him, and how much dad loved me, his family and his wonderful friends.
For those of you who were there, who remember the stories, and the laughs, and maybe those of you who weren’t there who just love dad, I will be having the videotape converted to a DVD digital format for preservation and copying purposes. If you are interested in owning your own copy of it, let me know and I will pre-order you a copy of it. I ask that you consider paying the reasonable production cost of the copy which I can let you know in advance of your order, probably in the $10-$20 range, but I also want to gift copies to those friends who roasted day that day as a reminder of dad, and in appreciation for the wonderful and entertaining job they did in roasting and honoring the man we loved.
Thanks to all who attended that event, and helped make that day such a treasured memory for my dad. I deeply appreciate it and always will.
And, another one of my favorite memories of my dad’s birthdays was the one following his death which I wrote about previously on my blog in A Perfect Baseball Birthday.
Happy Birthday, Dad! We love and miss you so.
I just received my final batting stats for last year’s Lobos baseball season:
Regular Season: 16 G (of 20 G), AVG .375, OBP .490, 2-2B, 1-3B, 17 R and only 3 K’s in 49 Total AB’s.
Playoffs: AVG .500, OBP .600, 3 R, 1 K.
Overall: 19 G (of 23 G) AVG .396, OBP .508, 2-2B, 1-3B, 20 R and only 4 K’s in 59 Total AB’s.
Team ranking: 4th-AVG, 3rd-OBP, 3rd-R, T-5th-H, T-5th-2B, 4th-3B, T-3rd-BB, T-4th Fewest K’s, T-5th Lowest K% (.061).
Played RF, LF, CF, P, 2B and 3B.
I also earned my first Win as a pitcher in 28 years.
It was a good year.
Looking forward to 2013!
Oh, my God! He’s alive!
You’re not going to believe this.
But it’s true!
Well, I don’t know how it’s possible…I can’t understand it myself…but HE’S ALIVE!
This morning one of our friends went to where he was buried and saw him….alive!
She told us, and we couldn’t believe her. We thought she was messing with us cruelly…playing a sick joke on us or something. We were hurting so badly from our grief. But she seemed so convincing, and excited, I just had to check it out for myself.
I went to where my friend had been buried two nights ago, and found things just like she said. His body was gone! All we found were the linens that we wrapped his body in. We thought maybe some grave robbers had taken his body.
But, later in the day, there he was! He came walking in just like nothing had ever happened. We couldn’t believe it. We were scared at first. I wondered if it was a ghost. Then I wondered if I had just dreamed it all.
Then I realized what had happened, what he had been saying all along, he was alive again! Back from the dead! RESURRECTED!
God is! He WAS there. He IS here. This was all part of his plan.
Our friend, the one we ate with, the one who told us all about God like he knew Him – he could- because HE IS GOD!
And HE LOVES US SO!
I’m so happy I’m bursting with joy!
I need to tell the whole world!
Will you help?
HAPPY EASTER !!!!!!!!
“Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot
This is my 60th blog post. The minutes have turned to hours. Where has the time gone? Where is the love of God?
Where does the love of God go?
It wasn’t there yesterday.
It seemed to be there the day before.
Yesterday my kids and I witnessed a tragedy. A good man, our best friend, was condemned and put to death right before our eyes.
We had just had supper with him the night before. He fed us. He cared for our needs. He told us how much he and God loved us.
Then an unbelievable chain of events unraveled. Now he’s dead. We witnessed it. We are heart-broken. We are hopeless.
After dinner we prayed with him. Ok, I fell asleep. I think some of the others did too. But we tried to pray with him. He seemed so sorrowful. I wanted to be with him and comfort him. But it was late, our bellies were full from a good supper, and I guess I dozed off.
I was rudely awakened. It seems like a nightmare. I wish it was, but it happened. Soldiers came and took him. One of our other friends was with them. I think he was our friend. He had been. Now I’m not so sure. He seemed to be helping them take our best friend. We tried to stop them, but they outnumbered us and were armed and I guess we got scared and ran off.
I followed at a distance. They seemed to put together some kangaroo court and put our friend on trial. Then, they beat him, they whipped him bloody, then they condemned him to death by crucifixion. I wanted to do something, but I was so afraid.
The next thing I knew in the morning, our friend was carrying a wooden cross out into the countryside as the soldiers escorted him there, and, my God, where did you go? How did you let this happen? They nailed his arms and feet to that cross like a criminal, stood the cross up for all to see him hang, bleed and suffer there, and watched and waited until ….he died!
Our best friend is dead! Gone – just like that. I hardly know what happened. If I didn’t see it painfully with my own two eyes, I wouldn’t have been able to believe it. I still can’t. And I can’t get the images of it out of my mind. They are seared in my brain and I can stop the pain they trigger within me.
Where were you God? He cried out. We all did. How could you let this happen?
WHERE ARE YOU?
WERE YOU THERE?
ARE YOU HERE?
Our best friend is dead. And we are lost, and scattered, and heart-broken.
What will we do now?