Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Single Greatest Change in My Life

I've not written too many posts in the last year. Life, laziness and lethargy have generally conspired to keep me quiet. The interested thing about that: my life has changed a lot since I last wrote, and that certainly should have given me things to talk about. So what's on my mind right now is why I'm going through changes rather than the fact that I am experiencing change in my life.

If I were to analyze my entire life (which I often do internally) here in this blog, I could list several key moments, memories so vivid and clear (even 30+ years later) of events that changed the direction of my life. However, none are so powerful and important as this one: the birth of my daughter.

Bindi's first night: I fell asleep
after a stressful day. Early bonds
were formed here.
Bindi Rhiannon Newsome, born December 5, 2008, is the single greatest catalyst for change my life has ever known. Her arrival forced me to break down my internal walls and rebuild myself from the ground up; her smile shook me to my foundations and burst through locked doors. When I think of happiness, I think of her laugh; and sadness is there every morning I leave her to go to work. Shortly after Bindi was born,  my sister in law said to me, "did you ever think you could love something so completely?" I took it as acknowledgement that she knew what I was experiencing.

I tend to be a thinker, a studier, the person who does not make quick decisions. History has taught me that quick decisions are often poorly made. I bring this up because, at the time of this writing, Bindi is turning 7 years old; however, it did not take me 7 years to change, or to feel this way. Rather, it has taken me this long to feel comfortable enough to express these things, to act on these feelings of change in a public and recognizable fashion. Bindi is developing rapidly too, (in the way that parents observe the passage of time. If you don't understand, you probably aren't a parent, but it goes by quickly) learning, growing into a person that's smart, witty and enjoys life.

I took this photo with my old Blackberry Pearl phone. It never
really took good pictures, but this one was an exception.

If you read my previous blog entry titled "From Beyond the Grave", you've seen how much my grandparents meant to me. Bindi seems to be a miniature, female version of my grandfather, Ireland Prillhart, who could be somewhat of a "ham" at times. He loved to be the center of attention. As a younger man he was on a weekly radio show performing as half of a duo called "The Yodeling Twins from Possum Holler" and he continued performing in one way or another until he physically could not. He loved to entertain, and Bindi is much the same. Of course, like all kids, she has moments of shyness, but overall she enjoys being in the spotlight. She especially seems to enjoy having us make videos of her silliness, so she can watch it over and over.

Anyone who has kids knows that life as a parent is not perfect. It can be very stressful and frustrating at times. But it also has the potential to bring the greatest rewards to your life. The positive changes in my life are far greater than anything I "lost" or "gave up" when I became a parent.  For years, I struggled to understand God, Christianity, religion, etc. I had times when I doubted God, but deep down I believed and had experienced the spiritual change of salvation earlier in my life. What happened with me is not uncommon; I let my intelligence get in the way of my emotions. In other words, my brain was telling my heart what to feel instead of my heart just feeling what it felt naturally.

Bindi is about 4 years old in this photo.
One of the comments I frequently made to people during this time was indicative of my doubts: being a man who values logic, I struggled to make sense of God and His omnipotence. I would offer that, if God is real, and He created all things, then he created me as I am; and, if God so desired to have me follow Him, believe in Him, give myself over to Him, then He would present Himself to me in a way that would make sense to me.

Like all things relating to God, events moved in His timing, not mine, and more than a few years were wasted thinking like this. After Bindi was born, I felt the love and affection for her that a father has for his child - and one day it came to me: God, the Father of all, loved me in a way even greater than my love for my child. My child amazed me time and again with her intelligence, wit and personality, and as much as I'd love to, I just couldn't take credit for creating her. It had to be God, and suddenly the universe clicked into place for me. He had in fact presented Himself to me and helped me understand.

A more recent photo of my ZuZu

So the story here is that my life's direction was dramatically altered by the birth of my little girl. Earlier I called her a "catalyst." A catalyst is described as increasing a reaction.

I wake up differently, I work differently, I think and live differently. I treat my wife differently. I treat my friends differently. All because of a little girl and my love for her, and her love for me. I thank God every day for bringing her into my life and I pray to be the father she needs me to be, and better than I was the day before.