Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daughters, Guitars, God & Autism

Well, since the semester is (finally) over, I have had time over the last number of days to do those things that I never had time for while still in the midst of spring classes. Things like play my guitar, play more with my daughters, make banana bread, and do some reading that isn't seminary-related.  The one that I enjoy the most has to be playing my guitar.  For one thing, I've been playing since I was a teenager, and it's just something I enjoy doing.  For another, it puts my older, 2 1/2 year old daughter in a good mood.  When I get the guitar out of the closet, she starts screaming "MUSIC!! MUSIC!!"and her excitement continues from there. (More than once, I've used it as a re-direct tool when she starts acting out because of her Autism).  My almost 6-month old daughter Zoe either stares at me or the guitar as I play, or it puts her to sleep (haha).
One song in particular that I play is John Mayer's "Daughters."  I've been playing the guitar part for years, but only recently was able to pick up the lyrics and play it all together.  What struck me about this song, though is its message. The obvious meaning to the song is that the guy is in love with a girl who was hurt/abused/abandoned by her father, and now he's gotta figure it out.  But it seems like every time my own life circumstance changes, I find myself coming to see it with a new meaning.
In college, I heard it as a love song to my then fiancee, now wife. Not that she carries any kind of baggage from her father, but as I would listen to it, I really did feel like she was "the girl who put the color inside of my world."
As time went on, and we had our first daughter, Abbey, I heard it in a new way from the perspective of a new father, whose daughter I knew was going to change my life in substantial ways.  Then she was diagnosed with Autism.  I got upset, I cried, I got angry, I yelled at God. I asked "why?" and said "it's not fair." And then I accepted it.  Now, as I hear (and play) it to her now, I hear it in a new way once again. The "girl who puts the color inside of my world," is still my daughter, but she does that because of her different perspective and experience of life.  It has pushed me to appreciate life in a new way.
As I was playing for her yesterday, I played and sang the song once again, but this time, became overly aware of how much influence I have over my daughters, and reminded me of the responsibilities I have to them as a parent, beyond the day to day stuff.

So there it is. Keep looking up everyone.

Much love,


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