One Dad’s Vision Quest at Dad 2.0 Summit part 1

Dear Izzy Max, and Kate,

I boarded an airplane last Thursday morning bound for Austin, TX. The idea was to attend Dad 2.0 Summit with my old friend Michael (friends since 5th grade), but more importantly to spend a few quiet days in search of truth in my life. It sounds a little hokey, perhaps even melodramatic, but I needed a few days to at very least gather my thoughts on fatherhood and I thought hanging with a bunch of guys who write about fatherhood would be a good place to do that. Being your dad has consumed my thoughts of late. I’ve often referred to journey’s like the one I was setting out upon as a “Vision Quest.”

It’s hard leaving you kids though. Ideas for trips like these always sound good in the beginning, but I almost always dread the trip when it comes time to leave. I hate leaving you guys, but I knew I’d have fun with Michael and meet lots of cool dads who could teach me things about fatherhood.

As I always do, I prayed while the plane took off. I’d been reading  Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz” in the airport and was feeling pretty emotional listening to Pat Green’s “Three Days” album, imagining every time he said “Texas” he actually meant “S.Carolina” and every woman he sang about was your mother. It’s a good album.

I was on edge. Waiting for something. I needed a few days to collect my thoughts. I had 3 days. It was a complete coincidence that I brought Pat Green’s “Three Days” album for the trip. It happens to me a lot. I wanted to spend some time thinking, reading, reflecting on being a father of 3 and praying. There’s nothing particularly wrong in our life right now, I just needed a few days to regroup.

I prayed something like this:

“God, protect this plane. Keep me safe, God. My kids need me. My wife needs me. I love them so much. I need them and I want to be around for them.”

I pray that prayer every time I take off and land. I’m not scared of flying. I’ve done it lots of times. I just feel more in control when I ask God to handle things for me (as I should). Maybe it was the heaviness of Miller’s book on my heart or the lyrics of the Pat Green songs, but something clicked in me. I think it was an awakening for the journey. As a dad it was hard for me to speak these words to God, but I did and I know they came from Him.

“God, I’m sorry. I’m wrong. They don’t need me. They’d be fine eventually without me, they need you and only you. Help me lead my family towards your will, God. I want them so much though and I love them. And I know they love me, so keep me safe, Lord. Help me continue to learn about fatherhood this weekend.”

I had tears rolling down my face sitting next to strangers on an airplane. I don’t know where the tears came from, but there I was crying…leaving for a trip that was supposed to be fun. I knew I’d have a few beers with cool people and talk about Dad stuff, but I was starting my trip off by crying on an airplane.  I pulled my sunglasses down to cover my eyes. Dorky, but necessary, so they wouldn’t think I was emotionally unstable. That’s not a good thing on airplanes these days.

I was still meditating on the words I’d had with God when I heard the explosion.

There was a flash and I was certain the engine had exploded. Everyone was rattled. After what seemed like minutes, but was actually probably only a handful of seconds, a flight attendant said “Lightning. Sorry. That almost never happens.”

I smiled and thought “thanks God, very subtle.” I put my headphones back in and listened to  Pat Green sing:

“it came upon me wave on wave, you’re the reason I’m still here. Am I the one you were sent to save? It came upon me wave on wave.”

It turned out to be an awesome trip. I heard some World class speakers, met some awesome dads and writers, and had VIP access to SxSW. I’ll tell you all about in the next few letters.

It rained for 3 solid days, but I did run a couple of times on the treadmill while I was there.

TO BE CONTINUED…

I love you,

– Daddy

training:

Friday: Ran 3 miles at 8:30 pace

Saturday: Ran 3 miles at 7:10 pace

Today: swam 1500 at 5:30am as: 3 x 100 s,p,k / 1000 straight / 100 k / 100 p