On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day Reflections

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord... Ephesians 6:4 (NASB)

As Father's Day is here again, I (Tom) reflect back upon the last 2 years...

During the 1st year of Caedmon's life, I had made up my mind that money was not worth the sacrifice of time away from Lynette. I paid away almost all of my overnight 24 hour call shifts in order to "be there" with them. In that year, I almost left the practice due to a sense of betrayal between my group and I. I wanted to work less and become a part-time employee. They would rather me leave the practice than to work part-time , and they would not allow me (if I became a solo practitioner) to go work with my surgeon friends whose business we were too short on manpower to cover anyway. We did not see eye to eye regarding these issues. I learned that business and friendship were not mutual. It was ultimately all about money and survival of the business. However, I've made a complete reversal in the past year. I've taken more 24 hour call than ever, more than anyone in the practice. Lynette actually finds value in having me home all day when I'm post-call, even if I do spend a portion of the post-call day sleeping in order to re-coup from the toll of the work. It has allowed me to help with Caedmon and give her a small break in her daily routine. I actually found that I could withstand the physical & mental onslaught of the 24 hour shifts, knowing that it was being done in order to actually have more time to be with them... working more in order to have more home time, weird huh? It is because by working a regular full day, Caedmon may already be asleep by the time I get home. I could potentially go days without him seeing me. However, if I take call, I get out a bit earlier the day before and I get off completely the day after. So at the expense of not being home for each 24 hour call, I essentially get a day and a half to spend with them. I came to understand my place in the practice and adapted my mindset. I now work amongst these so-called "friends" with my guard up, do the job, and get out. The practice was more financially sound this past year as the hospital paid us a stipend for our work there. This boosted our incomes and has been an unanticipated but needed blessing for our family. Much money was required as we paid to live in a hotel for 2 months prior to settling into and completing our new unfinished home. We bought allergy-friendly non-toxic Amish-made solid cherry beds and also a new solid maple crib, all natural latex mattresses, and organic bedding for all of us (including Libby). We also changed our diet to a predominantly organic one, and purchased a new Honda Odyssey minivan. With the economy in impending recession and prices for consumed goods going up, as well as gasoline and airline fares, we did not fly at all this year. This offset a portion of the expenses we incurred thus far. The income I am earning allows us to continue living a very comfortable lifestyle, eat healthy, pay down our mortgage at a faster pace (which was much higher than we had planned, but due mostly to our builder's incompetence, lies, and several months delay in finishing our home), and to continue saving for our future (including for Caedmon & Libby). It will probably take another 10 years of working like this, but someday, I do hope to slow down and find a practice that truly cares and is not ultimately about money. My hope would be that when we are debt free in the future and look back to these years, I will not have compromised on quality time with them and have regrets. In retrospect, if I had gotten my way with the practice and became a part-time employee or was allowed to leave and work as a solo-practitioner with my surgeon friends, we would have struggled financially. I am not sure why I stayed, but sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side. At the time, I did look for a job - and found almost an ideal one that met my desired qualifications. However, in the end I decided to stay put in a place where I knew what I had, and who I was dealing with... rather than get into a new situation where I didn't know how things worked. I did find a sense of peace in that. By the end of this month, I will have been with the group for 10 years (3 as an employee, 7 as a full partner). paid off ~$150,000 of medical school debt after the first 5 years of working in Texas, finished paying off my sister's law school debt one year ago, supported my brother for a few years when he was still with Campus Crusades for Christ, paid my dad's expensive year of premiums for being in a high risk insurance pool before he was able to qualify for Medicare, paid off 2 cars entirely and purchased our current one in cash fully up front (a practice we will try to instill in our kids... to never finance a vehicle purchase), started a family, bought and sold our 1st house and build a custom dream house (which we still owe a mortgage on, but it is the only debt we have). God's ways are not our ways. In the midst of what we feel to be life's trials, (since we are not getting our way) we may not feel that His will is being done... but the fact remains - He is always right and true. His care for us as He continues to weave our story is something we can never comprehend - "And we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good, to those who love God,to those who are called according to His purpose."(Romans 8:28) Without trials we are not truly living. Without trials we are not tested and refined. Without trials we do not grow and move towards God. Without trials we do not overcome Satan. Wholeheartedly embracing the role of provider and protector these past 2 years has not come without exacting a price on my part. In no way do I equate providing for family with my losses. Physically I have had no regular exercise workouts since entering parenthood. This has been one of the things I regret most as I have for most of muy life been physically fit. Spiritually I have fallen in this past year. It has been more out of laziness and personal ease (all things that Satan can subtly tempt me with). My readings have diminished. Church going has declined greatly and we are not involved with Crown classes currently. I have no regular Bible reading/study. My prayers are routine and without heart. The pastor, John Piper, has a 3-part sermon on Romans 8:28-32 called, "All Things For Good" ...




I found comforting and inspiring some words in his sermon, ... "If you are a believer, then you will not respond to this message and to the truth of Romans 8:28 with passivity toward the devil and resignation toward evil and a casual attitude toward American consumerism and materialism. What you will hear in Romans 8:28 is a battle cry. If all things work together for my good, then I cannot be ultimately defeated in the cause of Christ. This is a call to take risks to spread a passion for God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples. This is a call to go to a hard place or do a hard thing in the cause of love. This is call to spend yourself for Christ and his kingdom. This is a call to do something radical and crazy in the eyes of the world. Take Operation World and read the needs of the world. Then let your heart dream how you might invest your life to move toward need and not comfort. Romans 8:28 is a trumpet call to follow Jesus in the risks of love no matter what it costs. Because whatever it costs will work for your good." ... "And nothing can stop everything from working for good for you because, just as God took the initiative to call you omnipotently to himself from the dead so that you love him, so he will take the initiative to keep you spiritually alive and finally glorified in the presence of Christ. Everything will work for you to get you there... But someone may say, with fear, but what if I give up? What if I stop believing? What if my love for God grows cold and dies? The answer is: it will not happen for those who are called. And the reason is NOT that it doesn’t matter if your faith fails and your love dies. The reason is that the God who calls, keeps. The God who, by his sovereign grace, called you, will, by that same sovereign grace, keep you believing and keep you loving."

This past year has been an amazing year as Caedmon has grown and exploded with his speech and communication skills. His amazing development has been a testimony to Lynette's amazing mothering and teaching abilities, expecially in light of the fact that she spent the past 9 months pregnant with Libby. I don't know how she finds the energy & patience to spend everyday take care of our household while chasing a toddler! Mommies are very special. I can only hope that I will continue to grow as a father, to be a good spiritual leader, to give Caedmon (and soon Libby) the foundation for choosing Christ someday, and that I may impact them such that they can someday look back with fond memories of these times with daddy & mommy and think what a wonderful life we tried to provide them.

Goals to strive for the coming year, changes starting with myself:

1) Make sure Caedmon and Libby know and see my love and affection for Lynette

2) Make time for Bible reading/study

3) Find a church we can call home

4) Join Ashley in starting a neighborhood Bible study

5) Begin regular exercise program

6) Read more to them

7) Bible memory verses (for me and them)

8) Take them outdoors more, to the park, play more

9) Take more time to help Lynette with them (so she can have a break and rest)

10) When tired post-call, don't just go to sleep... go to their activities (such as swim)

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