When God Is Nowhere To Be Found

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Dear Lewis,

One thing I miss about living in an apartment is how everything is in close proximity. Our area at grandma and grandpa’s isn’t huge, but it’s laid out more like a house, naturally, since it’s in the basement of one. A long hallway separates the bedrooms and living room. I’m not lazy. I just think it’s a waste of space for a family of our size. Then again, it’s new to me, having lived in tiny apartments for the past 13 years, so I’ll probably change my mind.

One nice thing about the hallway is it gives you a long stretch of crawling space. Over the past month you’ve become a pro, so we don’t pick you up every time we need to get you from one place to the next. We walk ahead and you crawl behind us like a madman.

You have this habit, however, that’s frustrating, mostly because it’s taught me something about myself.

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Daddy – From A Distance

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Dear Lewis,

As you can see by the date of my last entry, it’s been almost a month since I’ve written to you. Honestly, things have been ridiculously busy. To be even more honest, I’m far beyond feeling overwhelmed.

We closed on our house in St. Louis. I’ve been coordinating with the contractor on the renovations so the house will be ready when you get there. Here in Salt Lake, we’re slowly packing and preparing for the move. I’m working more hours to get things in order so I can still do the same jobs, only while living in St. Louis.

I’ve been writing a new book. I’m currently reading three. I do a podcast with friends, which requires a lot of reading, movie watching and note taking. We’re trying to find time to hang out with all of our friends before we move, so our nights and weekends are scheduled down to the minute.

There’s more, but you get the point.

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What My Son Taught Me About Augustine

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Dear Lewis,

Slowly, we’re getting settled into our “transition home.” For the next several months we’ll be living in grandma and grandpa’s basement. It’s really not a bad setup. Well, except for all of the accessible dangers.

For example, we used to have a door that would close off our kitchen. Now we have what a creative realtor would call an “open floor plan”, with the kitchen, dining room, living room, storage and office area all being the same room.

The problem is you’re able, and determined, to get into everything.

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You Got Hurt, And You Will Get Hurt Again

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Dear Lewis,

I knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t think it’d be so soon. Given how adventurous you are I don’t know why I’m so surprised. Last night you split open your noggin and had to go to the emergency room.

We had an awesome day, just you and me. We played in the yard, at the park, and even went book shopping. You fell on the sidewalk once, and another time in the Barnes & Nobel parking lot. Each time you looked up at me, grinned, and then stood to your feet before returning to business as usual.

But, when you took off running through the living room on your way to bed you tripped over a pillow, fell into a table leg, and then split your head open in two places.

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Why It’s Pointless To Bargain With God

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Dear Lewis,

Our family has spent the past few weeks getting ready for a major change. For the next several months we’re going to live with your grandma and grandpa. I don’t want to scare you, but I do want to be honest with you – you’re going to live in the suburbs for a while.

Lewis, sometimes you have to spend seasons of your life in places you’d rather not be. I can assure you, if God leads you there it will be worth it, and you will get far more than you bargained for.

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The First Letter To Lewis After He Was Born

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Friends,

If you’ve had a child you know what it’s like to enter the upside-down world of parenthood. If you haven’t, well, imagine taking sleeping pills or NyQuil, then being awakened after only three hours of sleep, and then being asked to solve the Middle East conflict in your altered state. That’s the state of mind and pressure of parenthood.

In the weeks leading up to and after Lewis being born my world moved at a million miles an hour. I wasn’t calm. I wasn’t relaxed. If you’ve read more than two of these letters you know why – loving someone unconditionally was new to me.

About a week and a half after Lewis was born I sat at my kitchen table while he and his mom slept. I opened my notebook and realized it had been 73 days since I’d written a letter to my son. I stared at the neglected notebook. Every second that ticked by brought a new wave of pressure. This was going to be the very first letter I wrote to Lewis after he was born.

I don’t know if it was from feeling overwhelmed by this new level of love or just from being tired, but I sat at my table and began to cry. After a few minutes I regained my composure, took a deep breath, and then penned the only worlds I could.

These were the first words I wrote to Lewis after he was born:

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The First Letter To Lewis I Ever Wrote

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Friends,

Three months before Lewis was born I went to the bar with some friends. At the end of an awesome night I walked a mile and a half through the city back to my apartment, my heart and mind racing the entire time. Even though I didn’t get home until after 2am I had an overwhelming desire to tell Lewis about what had happened. So, I sat at my kitchen table and wrote my very first letter to Lewis.

Unlike most of my letters to Lewis this one wanders through a few thoughts with no real segue. This one also isn’t edited down to make it as short as possible. This is, however, my favorite letter to Lewis because it was the first.

I kind of thought I’d always keep this one for myself. But, today is my birthday. And hobbits celebrate their birthdays by giving presents to all of their friends. I promise, this is the most personal present I could ever give you.

-Paulie

March 22nd, 2013

Dear Lewis,

When you use the bathroom in a stall at a gay bar always look at the ceiling. What you will see on the floor will warp you. When the day comes where you use this advice I hope, I pray, you’re there because of a man, a friend, like Jeff Hacker.

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The Cost Of Being An Original: A Letter From Uncle Kevin

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Nephew,

When your dad asked me to write you a letter I began to think of the things that I could share that would change your life. Well, at least make you laugh. I thought about teaching you that having a nice round belly doesn’t mean you’re fat – it means you get paid. (That’s one of the things I taught your dad, and teased your Aunt Melissa about non-stop since I don’t have a six-pack.)

There’s a lot of pressure in writing this letter to you. Your dad is a great writer. Your Papa David is a great writer. And these letters are filled with not just great writing, but great insights as well. So naturally, I began to feel inadequate. I began to feel pressure to write you a letter that is as good as your other letters, and written well (or good, I’m not sure which to use).

I mean really, I’m just me, and I can’t do some of the things that others do. I can only do things how I do them.

But that’s ok, actually – better than okay, because no one else can do me better than me.

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