my fan club

“mr. kamarr i have a loose tooth.”
“well i’m happy to hear your tooth will finally be escaping from your face.”
“but mr. kamarr, it hurts.”
“well tell your dad and maybe he’ll pull it out for you; dad’s are good at that sort of thing.”
“but i don’t ever see my dad.”
“well have your grandpa, or uncle, or older brother, or cousin- some man you can trust do it.”
“we don’t have any men in our lives.”
“you mean there are no men in your life you can trust and look up to? not even at church?”
“why do you think we come here everyday.”
i’m tired of being a medical doctor working as the assistant to a middle school nurse, running around like i’m crazy to barely make enough money to cover our bills and a little fun every so often. i want a career so badly, a job that i can just focus on and turn into a part of the greater narrative of my life as i grow in Christ and raise a family. i pray for this constantly, a new job, a new place to live, some sort of change that takes me from where i am to a place somewhat more like where i would much rather be. but then i have conversations like the one above, and i’m left shaking my head, wishing with every fiber of my being that i wasn’t saying the prayer that i actually am, the prayer that says: “thank You God for having me here, and putting me where i am truly needed.” the aforementioned conversation took place today during lunch time as 4 girls ranging from 10-13 in age looked over my shoulder at some of the pictures from what my family did this summer. every since i first started working at this school i have had a “fan club” of girls, and some boys too, who stop by 4 days a week (“no visitors on Fridays; i’m too busy”) during their lunch break to just talk, watch me work, bug me. my first year i felt like maybe it was more of a “girls with crushes” thing, but as the years rolled by, it became increasingly obvious that this was not the case; these girls weren’t drawn to me because they found me attractive, they were drawn to me because there was a blank space in their life they needed filled. some of the girls would talk to me because i reminded them of their father but cooler, saying the same things but with a handlebar mustache so it was more palatable; some of the ladies hated the men in their life, and enjoyed knowing a man they could respect and be respected by. but as the girls so plainly stated today, some of them come to my office because i am the only male figure in their life worth coming to. how sad is that? how sad is it that there are little girls, future mothers and wives, who are so desperate for a worthwhile relationship with a man that they will spend what little free time they have huddled in a health office with a guy they barely know? i told the girls that this fact made me sad, that it didn’t ruin my day or anything, but that i was so sorry to hear that they had no other men in their life. they had to leave, and i had to get some work done, but they will be back tomorrow, to bug me again, and i will certainly let them.
there are forces in the world that will have you believe that kids don’t need two parents in the home, or a mom and a dad, but if you asked the kids, not the jaded adults pretending that they are tougher than they really are, less scarred from traumas and memories than they really are, if you asked the kids they would freely acknowledge what having a mom and a dad means to them. like the young man who came by every day when his dad was stationed in Iraq, and still comes now because i’m like his “school uncle” or something, kids need a man in their life, not just somewhere in the universe; no matter how loving and caring a man he is, his physical presence is irreplaceable and totally necessary. there is so much i want to do in this life, so many things i want for myself and for my family, but at moments like these i must admit that the work God is using me for seems infinitely greater than the work i dream of doing. maybe these ladies will grow to walk the streets sleeping with men for money; maybe they will marry the first boy who says “i love you;” maybe they get knocked up the year after they leave here or end up on the streets, or on drugs; maybe they go to college and invent some new technology or eventually become president of the United States. whatever they end up doing with their lives, if even just one of them grows up to know what a man is supposed to be because of a few minutes a day, four days a weak spent bugging me in my office, then all these years of struggle and ego crushing failure have been more than worth it.

my kids are the cutest, and i can prove it!

notes from the day with wife, kids, niece and nephew

so what does all this mean for me? who i am, what i am is the embodiment of the conflict raging not only within my world but also within myself. what i do with this conflict not only shapes me but also the world i will and do inhabit. the situation cannot be avoided, nor can it be escaped; it can, however, be changed. as such the question evolves. no longer is the query what it means for me, but what will i mean in it?

a man is a terrible thing to waste

growing up is quite the challenge. i mean, you hardly notice yourself getting taller, voice getting deeper or features coarsening. sure, you see the pimples, yeah, your notice the stretch marks; but it’s not ‘til you wake up one morning to the sound of hungry children and a sink of dirty dishes when you realize that somehow, somewhere, some-kind-of-way you’re stuck in the body of a man, with the responsibilities of a man, but the desires and dreams of a boy-child.

men have always faced this dilemma; and as many men are on the planet are the number of ways it’s dealt with. it just so happens that mine is through the aggravation and manifestation of my depression. but this only compounds my problems. the only reason i even realize that i am (and shbooulduld act like, for that matter) a man is because of my wife and children; but at the same te it is my responsibilities to them that trouble me. I respond to extreme emotional situations with a depressed mood, loss of energy, and general disengagement from life; this inevitably leads to me hurting my family, and causing them pain only adds to my list of grievances against myself.

so i find myself in the middle of a web of life, strung with the responsibilities of adulthood. and manhood, trellised with the regrets which litter my life, moistened with the tacky paste of my depression. as i look out on my kingdom i see a queen whose face is possessed with grief and concern, i see children whose aura radiate with joy and potential, and i see a realm whose resources lie rotting, abandoned by their lord who is too entangled to adequately rule.

but how is a man supposed to “govern” in this modern age? how can i be masculine enough to be in charge while being sensitive enough to write my wife love letters? how can i dream big enough to shoot for he stars while practical enough to toil in the trenches? how can i be resourceful enough to use my skills to their utmost while reserving time and energy for my children? how can i hold onto the wonderment of youth while grasping the concerns of a man?

i’ve no answers now, as i’m still in the midst of my web. what i know is this: a man is a terrible thing to waste. when a man is wasted his woman suffers. when a man is wasted his children’s potential withers before it gets a chance to blossom. when a man is wasted the kingdom that could’ve been decays into a slum that shames us all. i will not be wasted. though i fall on my face as i struggle to rip free, i will not be wasted. though i bruise and bleed with every failed attempt, i will not be wasted. i may not ever achieve greatness, but i’ll be damned if i allow myself to let down my queen. i will use my dreams as a youth and perspective as a man to create a vision for my world. i will use my talents as a boy and soils as a man to forge the weapons i need to conquer my domain. i will use the hopeful eyes of a child to focus on the goals of a man and acquire the title of honorable. a Kamarr is a teronle thing to waste. i will not be wasted.