Ellis is one year-old now and is in a mighty good state.
He must be growing something fierce because he sleeps a lot these days. 14-15 hours a day. Oh, what I would have given for him to sleep that kind of sleep those first few months of his life. Oh, what I would give to be able to sleep that much every day. How times change. He weighs nearly 20 pounds – a regular bantam featherweight boxer – and crawls around like the ground were his and his dominion alone. I suppose that is the way God intended it. Ellis adores the hand-me-down Fisher Price multi-colored rings (reminds me of a ring toss game) and has a peculiar habit of crawling here and there throughout the house with one in each hand, creating the effect of horse hooves, occasionally pausing to knock them together or to drop them to the ground, all the while watching as they twirl, sway and roll to a standstill. What can I say, the dude likes gravity. Amusement gratis, food, beverage, and burying his drooly face in our long-haired obese cat’s fur; Ellis finds joy in it all and, as a result, all of joy seems to find him. Everything is repeated ad nauseum. I am sure this repetitive nature only gets more drastic and dramatic as the months pass and my dear boy grows older. Another great thing about Ellis is the depth of laughter he has infused into this house, our cozy cottage on sleepy Russell Street. What he finds humorous, we of course are effected to confront with laughter as well. His high, free laugh is no weak medicine. The contagion of laughter has done me well, especially since it has been in short supply these days. We kneel and praise all small, forgotten miracles.
Over a cup of coffee yesterday with Matthew Perryman Jones, he and I began sharing with one another our outlooks on life, career perplexities and successes, fatherhood, worries and joys. A wise man, this Mr. Jones. He spoke many great things to me, but one thought in particular gripped me, or rather had the effect of unlocking corroded, self-inflicted shackles. As we commented on our world, both macro and micro, and on the American culture we are so helplessly immersed in with all its greed, self-service, community-less-ness and overt and subtle materialism he alluded to songwriting and the pursuit of making it big, pursuing the horizon. The only problem, as he put it, is that we can pursue the horizon forever and a day, but we will never reach it. It is infinite. It is sightless. And it is ruin. We do what we do in life, we write songs for that which is in front of us, who and what is a part of our lives, who and what we can see, care for, nurture and for whom we can give our absolute best. We know what we write, therefore we write what we know. The Truth comes to us from those we know and love, and who love us for who we are. Their voices are light in our lives, laughter for the disheartened, they are grace and hope at the time when it is needed most. This, dear friends, is God alive in the world – our world – and as I can see it, this Emancipation is the way God, THE God, intends it for his Kingdom.