Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unto us a (grand) son is born...

No one was expecting it. It came as a complete surprise to me. After all, he wasn't due until the end of March. But as we all know, babies come when they are good and ready. And this one was ready!

On Thursday morning February 11, 2010, I was on my way to work. My cell phone went off at about 7:40 am, normally an unusual event for that early. On the other end was my youngest daughter, Brittany. She was pregnant and expecting sometime the last week in March. Her words caught my speechless (which is hard to do!) "Dad, my contractions are two minutes apart and I'm on my way to the hospital!" As I said, I was caught off-guard, but I continued my way to work.

At 8:50 am, my phone went off again. This time it was Matt's mom, Gloria. She was with Brittany because Matt was on his way to the hospital from his job site. She informed me that Brittany was 7 cm dialated and they were wheeling her into the delivery room! She said she'd keep me posted.

At 9:50 am my phone rang once more. This time it was Brittany. Calmly as could be she announced that Kyle Matthew Gurtzweiler was born at 9:21 am, weighing in at 5 lbs. 1 oz, and measuring about 18 inches long. Welcome baby Kyle!

Now comes the rest of the story. What Brittany didn't tell me was that Kyle's birth was a little out of the ordinary. First, Matt arrived about 5 minutes before the birth, so he was able to witness the event. Then, as Brittany began to deliver, both the doctor and the nurse could be heard to say..."There's the head, it's beginning to crown." However, as Brittany, Matt and Gloria watched intently via the mirror, they didn't think the head looked quite right. Suddenly, almost simulataneously, both the doctor and nurse exclaimed "he's breach!" What they thought was the head was actually his little behind!

Now, here's the cool know, where God steps in and says, "I'm in control!" The delivery was too far advanced to reverse the process and remove the baby by C-section. So the doctor and nurse did their best as quickly as possible to remove the breached baby. As his head finally appeared, it was discovered that the cord was wrapped around his neck. Now maybe some of you know more about this than me, but my thinking is that had Kyle been born the other way around, things might have ended quite a bit differently...perhaps even tragically. Yes, Kyle suffered some major bruising, but as of Sunday night, his bruising was almost all gone already.

Baby Kyle is still in the hospital. Being born almost 7 weeks early, his little body just isn't quite ready to tackle baby life just yet. He is having some difficulty learning to swallow. So, they have a feeding tube inserted through his nose and into his stomach. He does take a bottle once a day, but so far, this wears out the little guy, so his other "meals" are through the tube. We have been told that he will be able to go home just as soon as he gets the swallowing thing down pat!

All this baby stuff got me to thinking. This miraculous birth only confirms in me the undeniable truth that God is in control. Even when we think that things are going horibly wrong, He takes control and events work out in spite of our efforts. What at first appeared to be a panic event turned out to be a life saving moment. God takes care of us in spite of ourselves.

Today, Kyle is a week old already. We welcome our fourth grandchild (first grandson!) into our growing family. We eagerly await his trip home to begin his life with mommy, daddy, and big sister, Kaitlyn. Welcome baby Kyle! We love you!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

What the world needs now is love sweet love...

Ahhhh, February! It is the shortest month of the year, and maybe the dreariest. Cold and gloom prevail, and maybe that is the reason someone decided a long time ago to liven up this otherwise gloomy month with visions of love. Of course, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day.

Yes, February is the time when we express our deepest affections and shower those dear to us with expressions of love. We pick one day, February 14th, and we honor those we truly love with such things as an intimate dinner, beautiful flowers, perhaps even a box of delicious candy. We have come to believe that these are all examples of how we display our love to one another.

As I have studied the New Testament, one of the things I have appreciated in its writings was the skillful use of language. The original New Testament was written mostly in Greek, and the Greek language has some wonderful nuances that we should pay attention to. Let us take for example, the word “love”. The Greeks had at least three different words they used to denote love; Philia, Eros, and Agape. Let’s take a moment to examine the differences.

A man might say, “I love my dog…I love my truck…I love pizza…I love my wife.” Obviously the word love in these examples carries vastly different meanings…right? In Greek, the word Philia might be translated as like or fond of. I like (philia) my dog or I like (philia) pizza. The word Eros denotes romantic love or sensual desire, as in I love (eros) my wife. Finally, the word Agape denotes unconditional love, as in Christ loves you and me.

For many of us, Agape, or unconditional love is the most difficult type of love to understand. In most situations, we love others because of the love they return to us…in other words, we give with the expectation of something in return. However, true love, or agape love, is unconditional; that means love is given with absolutely no expectation of anything in return. Love is given because of who you are, not what you can do for me. Christ loves us for us, not for what we can do for him.

As Christians, Christ calls us to love (Agape) our fellow man. It is not enough to be fond of, or even to merely accept others. We are not called to “tolerate” others. Instead, we are called to love as Christ loves. Jesus tells us, “My command is this, love (agape) one another as I have loved (agape) you.” John 15:12. We are called to a higher standard, a living example of Christ’s love to our fellow man. As you enjoy Valentine’s Day 2010, pause to remember God’s true valentine was Christ, and His ultimate gift of love (agape) to each of us was a death on a cross so that we might have eternal life. It was Christ’s agape love that held him to the cross. Now that’s love!

But this is Valentine's Day, and so we need not forget those whom we truly love here on earth. For your reading pleasure, I offer this piece of prose...

The Rose and the Leaf

If my love were a rose, and I were a leaf…
separate and distinct, yet connected by necessity.

I would bask in the glory of her beauty,
content to reside in her shadow.

Daily providing strength and encouragement;
collecting sunshine to brighten her day,
and savoring the morning dew as her kiss.

Growing together in love that only time can provide,
until the ravages of time take their toll.

Til that day when age and Mother Nature take their course,
and together we whither and fall,
to take our place amongst those who have gone before.

Only to change and become one once again,
mixed and mingled with the soil of new life,
together always and forever…

If my love were a rose, and I were a leaf…

Happy Valentines Day!