The last couple of weeks I’ve had the precious opportunity to ponder as our family was slightly “cocooned” together anxiously awaiting the arrival of our family’s first boy/son/grandchild/nephew. Due to the gracious gift of a temporary housing situation that could accommodate all of us, we’ve had the privilege and blessing of experiencing his sweet arrival and new life together in a comfortable place. I’ve watched my two younger daughters become delightfully enchanted with the little guy and his dear parents transition into Mommy and Daddy without hesitation or trepidation. It has been a time to cherish and treasure. It has also given me time to consider, once again, what is truly valuable in life. What is my treasure? What is the desire of my heart and what will I do to attain it?
I don’t know about you, but my life has certainly not turned out as I expected in my younger years. That is not to say it has been less than I expected, just different. In fact, as I reflect back on what I would have considered a happy, successful, “flourishing” life three or four decades ago, my life is now almost in another dimension than the one I was holding up as the standard and measure of achievement and happiness at that youthful point of my outlook on my life’s future journey.
Years ago Carole King sang “I feel the earth move under my feet.” The other day I was telling a dear friend that there are so many changes taking place in my life and the lives of those around me that I literally feel as though the ground is giving way – – – that it is shifting right under my feet.
We’ve all been there . . . . Imagining ourselves pausing at the top of the palace stairway preparing to descend into the ball . . . . . and everyone – men and women alike – becomes silent, stops dancing and turns to gaze at the shimmering vision (you or me) at the top of the stairway. You may deny it, but every little girl, every young lady, maybe every grown woman, dreams to have her “Cinderella” moment.
Today is the last day we will parent a teenager.
That may bear repeating: Today is the last day we will parent a teenager!
Amazingly, this day has come far more quickly than I would have ever imagined the day my oldest daughter turned the ripe old age of three. Sequentially thereafter, the age of three went by ever so slowly for our other two daughters as well. So how did this day get here almost before we could blink our eyes? How did we traverse the teenage years with our three lovely daughters with fewer (that doesn’t mean there were none) problems, blow-ups, rebellious moments, sarcasm, disrespect, pain and separation than I would have ever dreamed? Truly, by and through the grace of God, with continuous prayer and much time and conversation!
Yes, the preciousness of each day and the uncertainty of life hit close to home for us in Kentucky yesterday. The loss of life, peace and security shattered the hopes, joy, anticipation and comfort of yet another “place” we enter, without a thought, most days. Whether a school, church, mall, gymnasium, amusement park, concert venue, theater – public or private – these are the “places” where we live life. Where we grow and learn, shop, compete, worship and gather to be entertained or merely to enjoy one another’s company. Sometimes those precious days end in sorrow and grief. Most days they don’t. But that is really the basis of the uncertainty of life – we don’t know what each day will hold.
What comes to mind when someone asks you “how are your investments doing these days?” If you have stocks or bonds, mutual funds or IRAs, you might say they are doing pretty well, certainly better than a few years ago.
But do other “investments” come to mind – – – Investments in friends, in family, in relationships in general? How are your spiritual investments going? Are you hoping for a tremendous return when you need it the most?
The element of time is strangely elusive. The value we place on time is even more so. Is one hour of life to be cherished more than another?
A young woman, mother and friend passed away recently. While her days on earth were waning someone posted on her Facebook page that visitors were being asked to allow her son, mother and others close to her to spend uninterrupted time with her because “the time was precious.”
It got me to thinking – – – are the hours near the end of our lives any more valuable than those leading up to it? Really, is any one hour, whenever lived, more important; is any single hour less priceless?
One of my favorite bible verses is the King James’ version of I Corinthians 13:12 – “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am also known.” While this speaks directly to our ability to truly know and understand the things of God, I think it also speaks to our often false perceptions of the daily “things” in life – – – among them being our limited, man-made, quantitative (and qualitative) assessments of “failure” and “success”.
“It’s not what I say, it’s what I do.”
“Actions speak louder than words.”
“Practice what you preach.”
We’ve all heard these age-old idioms. They all have the same thing in common – words and actions.
The last few months I have watched with interest, with growing bewilderment and perplexity, and now with concern, the display of words and actions our nation’s freedoms allow. The hue of the public dialogue is changing.