I have been reflecting on my ability to make things happen "against all odds". When I look back in the wake of my life and work I see projects and events that people said couldn't be done be done. Yesterday, at church, once again, I made something happen that people said was extraordinary. This morning's batch of emails contained this email from my pastor, "What an awesome day! church, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all the work you put in that made today possible. You EXCEL in these kinds of events -- taking things to a whole new level than all of us would get to experience without your gifts and your effort."
This may sound like I am boasting. And, in fact, in the past I was very proud of what I did. But there has been and is a dark side to my can-doness. Mixed into the wake of amazing efforts and events are damaged and broken relationships. This happened again yesterday. In the midst of focusing on all the details of pulling together an "amazing" service, I lost sight of my own wife's needs and desires and I hurt her deeply.
Yesterday was a baptism service at our church and our youngest son was being baptized. He wanted both of us to baptize him. My wife and I talked over what we wanted to do and say. We both spoke in church when our son shared his testimony. Later, when it came to actually baptizing him in a pool outside, I completely spaced that my wife wanted to say certain words and lead the baptizing of our son. I had gotten so wrapped up in all the details of the morning, trying with all my might to hold everything together, focusing my mind and will to pull together loose ends - tying them together and keeping them from unraveling ... I was so wrapped in all of that (and in myself, really) that when we got into the pool I went ahead and said my normal baptism words and we dunked him. It happened so quickly. I didn't even know what I did - I denied Val an experience that is undoable and irreplaceable. I was still oblivious to what I had done, basking in the glow of a "special morning"didn't when my wife approached me hurt and angry. To her credit, our son knows nothing about this. It was a special time for him. It was a special time for me and for the church. But it is a sad, sad, memory for my wife.
The words of the apostle Paul come alive to me a lot in recent days, "The things I hate I end up doing. The things I want to do I don't do ... wretched man that I am." (Romans 7). This can-do guy, can do a lot, but he really needs to do is learn to love those around him, starting with his wife & children, more than he loves doing extraordinary things. That's what I need to do. God help me until I "can-do" that.