What I did on my summer break … or why I missed church three Sundays in a row

I’m an adult. We don’t really have summer breaks. Unless you’re a teacher, like my wife, but that’s another story altogether. This summer, however, I’m unemployed and going to school full time, so I had time to spend with the kids.

I made it to church July 3rd. The next morning my youngest, Noah, went off to Word of Life camp. OK, time to relax. No, not really. The oldest girl, Heather, had a camp with the Division of Blind Services nearly all summer. One of her teachers worked at the camp and was driving her most days, but I still got up early to make sure she was up on time and got out the door okay. Then I was working on school work. Or watching Noah’s camp online, which was pretty cool.

Friday and Carolyn was off to North Carolina to hang out with friends and take a much-needed mini-vacation. Robert was off babysitting, long-term, for friends, Rebekah was pawned off on(I mean, we let her spend time with) a friend and the weekend commenced with Heather and I watching movies on Netflix.

Saturday rolled around and I rolled up to the church to get Noah. He had a Rocky start and a Rocky finish, but the rest of it was okay. No, those capital “R’s” are not misplaced. I mean that he got in a fight right before they left to go to camp and right before they left to come back. No amazing Rocky Balboa wins for Noah, though. Lots of heart, but no reach and no power. That said, he got a lot out of camp and is learning to listen for God’s still, small voice.

Less than 24 hours later, he was rolling away in his mother’s car, not to be seen for a week again. For the record, this became missed church week number one. More getting Heather up, more school work, more doing stuff with or for my wife.

Did I mention Carolyn came back from North Carolina Monday night? Yup. She did. I think she toyed with the idea of missing her plane, though. She loved it when she got home and found out that while I was taking Noah to meet his mom, Heather, one of her friends and our friend Amber performed an awesome top-to-bottom cleaning of the house. Carolyn was thrilled.

The next weekend came and Noah was due to come back on Saturday. Friday night though is mother stated, “nope, not til Sunday.” So, there’s week number two of church missed. The plus side is that Job, my oldest son, came down with him. We fished Sunday night and Job caught a pan fish.

Monday we went kayaking in and around Whidden Bay, off the Peace River. Job does a lot of kayaking at home in Georgia, but the stifling heat and lack of any breeze that day laid us all out after about two hours.

Rain, heat and other things interfered with any more kayaking, but we were able to fish a few more times. The best was the day Noah tried his new pole. As I was helping Noah configure it the way he wanted it, Job cast and caught what we all swear was the same pan fish from the first night.

Noah had a lot of trouble all morning and wanted to give up, but we talked him into continuing and he managed to catch a bass as long as his forearm. Job and I were about 20 yards away when he goes, “Dad, Job! I got one!” Job and I look at each and laugh about how unlikely that was, given Noah’s luck and then turned to see the fish fighting him. We ran over to lend a hand and see this up close. Noah managed to land a nice one, that’s for sure. I helped get him off the hook and back in the water and then we all returned to trying to match Noah’s catch.

Didn’t happen.

We played video games that week. When the game is a first-person shooter, my presence is welcomed, I found, but not when they’re playing an RPG. It was a little humiliating to be playing Oblivion and have my 11-year-old son say, “Dad, just give back the controller, please; you’re not doing real well.”

Well, the week drew to a close and missed church week 3 came about.

Yesterday I made it to church. I sorta had to since I was stage manager. It felt weird since I hadn’t been there for a while, but I know that the whole time I wasn’t there, I was with God. I got to experience some wonderful times with my family. The ones that stand out most, obviously, are the ones I had with Job, because I see him far too infrequently, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of the time with the others, like walking the bridge with Rebekah or having breakfast with Heather before she went to work at a day care. Or taking Robert McDonald’s while he was babysitting and making him run out in the pouring ran to get it. Actually, better one with Robert: him exiting the kayak on the boat ramp and nearly ending up in the river.

I may not have been at church for a few weeks, but I saw, experienced and shared God’s love during that time and it was awesome.


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