According to Me: I hope he sees…

I wasn’t ready for it. And no matter how much one thinks otherwise, there’s no way anyone is ever really ready for it. Days, weeks and months spent in preparation for the years to come and in one moment the illusion of preparedness shatters into a million fragments reflecting the asininity of my now failing assurance.

I remember so very little after that moment; smiles and congratulatory statements standing in stark contrast to the grimaced anguish on my wife’s face. There was pain and blood and exhaustion and confusion and anxiety and tension and breathlessness and customs and connections and a room spinning faster than I could possibly adjust. And then he opened his eyes and looked up at me from underneath the glow of the warming lamp hovering just inches above him.

Seconds after entering this world, my son looked at me. And everything stopped. Fading confidence and prevailing confusion aside, reality snapped into focus.

Lying at my fingertips was a little baby boy and the first thing he did in this world was look to me; a poetic happenstance illuminating the constitution of his coming days.

That moment would stand as a beacon for the moments that lie ahead. How to talk. How to walk. How to swing a bat. How to throw a ball. How to treat a lady. How to laugh. How to love. How to live. Whether I knew what to do or not, this little boy was going to look to me for what to do. That is the most awesome responsibility I have ever felt outside of the ferocious accountability that accompanies the teaching of God’s Word.

Saturday, I watched him swing a bat at his third birthday party. He ate cake and scooped up candy and chased after his friends and loved on his family members visiting from out of town. He opened presents and sorted baseball cards and marveled at balloons. As we drove down the highway, he requested to share my beef jerky and wanted me to turn up the radio as Lane Staley sang about his own father’s experiences in the Vietnam War.

And all the while I found myself evaluating what he has seen in me since that first time he looked at me only seconds after entering this world.

I hope he sees character that knows not circumstance. I hope he recognizes that his father strives to do what is right for the sake of doing right regardless of the consequences and inconveniences that may be attached to the decision.

I hope he sees love that knows no bounds. I hope he knows that his father loves him and his sister and his mother without boundaries or caveats or conditions.

I hope he sees work ethic that knows no end. I hope he realizes that his father believes that anything that is worth doing is worth doing well and that to do anything partially is to fail wholly.

I hope he sees a pursuit of the heart of God that knows no relent. I hope he understands that his earthly father continuously walks barefoot over the shattered shards of the sinful man he daily dashes and the idyllic ideal he perennially pursues all in an effort to find himself right in the sight of his heavenly Father. And I hope he sees that the endless pursuit of holiness along the resistant road toward righteousness became all the more important on that day when the room stopped spinning and my son looked at me for the first time.

Jeremy D. Smith is managing partner of The West Alabama Watchman. He has covered news and sports in Demopolis since 2008. His column, According to Me, appears weekly on