Benjamin is an artist. In fact, he is a very talented painter – the kind with no formal training outside some art classes in high school. He was quick to pull up his Instagram account and show me his vast portfolio of paintings and illustrations. Having gone to art school, I was jealous of his ability to paint portraits that truly captured the soul and character of the subject. It was obvious that painting is something he loves to do.
I would argue that his greatest work of art was Ade, who had stopped petting my dog to climb and teeter on the bleacher behind us. He watched us as we watched him. As a father, my blood pressure was rising as he ran back and forth, and up and down the seats. But Benjamin was cool. His parenting style, like his painting style, was very natural.
His greatest surprise (so far) about being a father was something i knew all too well. “I never thought I could cry like that” he said talking about the delivery. We never do. We don’t realize how powerful of an emotion love is until we experience love unconditionally.
We both discovered early on that there’s more to parenthood then love. It takes work, chasing and catching and lifting up and fixing things and being there as much as you can when you’re not painting or holding down two jobs to make ends meet.
Benjamin grew up learning to navigate between parents and their respective homes. He wants to give Ade a more stable life. “I want him to be more than just happy. I want him to be ready for the world. If he needs to hunt, I want him to know how to hunt. If he needs to fish, I want him to know how to fish.” A self-taught artist, and a self-taught dad.
Like Freddy before him, Benjamin began to ask me questions. He was not taken back when I told him I was a minister. The church was a familiar place for him. But eventually he left it when “what the bible said didn’t always align with what he was going on in the church.” Another thing we had in common. We also both agreed that when we “do good things, things turn out good. But when I don’t neither does life.”
A self-taught artist, dad and philosopher – that’s Benjamin. As for Ade, I suspect he will have a bunch of stuff in common with his dad too.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”