In the late 90’s a movie came out called As Good As It Gets, starring Jack Nicolson and Helen Hunt. You may remember this film. It was in a lineup of blockbuster hits in 1997. The movie garnered an array of Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations that year. It was one of my favorite films then and still is to this day.
In the movie, Nicolson plays Melvin Udall, an anti-social, condescending author who lives and works in New York City. Hunt plays Carol Connelly, a kind-hearted, down-to-earth but down on her luck waitress at Udall’s favorite restaurant. The two form an unlikely friendship that grows into more than friends throughout the film. At one point, Melvin is struggling with paying Carol a compliment when he suddenly blurts out, “You make me want to be a better man!” At that, Carol’s heart melts.
I was busy yesterday. Quite busy, actually, and on Father’s Day, no less. While my wife was busy working, leading our children, and our home altogether, I was on a plane headed to my next speaking engagement. It’s all part of the dream we’ve chosen to pursue! But often, I feel I could do better. Not necessarily with traveling because we’ve found a pretty good balance. I’m talking about life in general with my family. In the back of my mind, I replay the countless times I’ve failed as a husband and father. The unkind words I’ve spilled in a heated moment or the preoccupation with something of much less importance than my wife and children. It’s a script that scrolls through my thoughts often.
Then, in one of my few down moments yesterday, I clicked a notification on Facebook to find this:
“I don’t deserve this,” I thought to myself, as I smiled and wiped a small tear. “Wow! I don’t deserve their grace, their love, or their kindness.” They’re too good to me.
In a moment, as I looked at the collage my amazing wife posted, along with the comment she left, all of my failures and shortcomings, inadequacies, idiosyncrasies that can drive my family crazy, and sometimes selfish attitude hit me like a tidal wave! I was far from deserving of this but boy oh boy was I humbled. “They make me want to be a better man,” I thought, recounting that famous scene from As Good As It Gets. I clutched my phone to my chest, pulled myself together, gripped my suitcase tightly and made my way through the terminal.
That’s what is so amazing about the grace my family is so quick to give to me. It’s underserving. It’s so undeserving. But they give it to me freely, and for that, I’m grateful. Deep in my heart, it makes me want to be better for them. It motivates me to fight harder for their heart, and do everything in my power to be the husband and father they need me to be.
Kristin, Rachel, Krystal, Noelle, Jaala, Andre, Elisha, Jacob and Sam- you make me want to be a better man! I love you.
How are you growing as a husband and father?