Isn't it funny that you can know something as a fact, yet not realize it fully until little moments when God opens your eyes and gives you a gentle, but pointed reminder?
Tonight was one of those moments for me.
I was invited by a sweet friend to attend her Senior Banquet. She is graduating in just a couple of weeks and our church set aside an evening to celebrate together with friends and family.
During the course of the evening, a slide show was shown of each graduating Senior and pictures played across the screen beginning with their births, and on into their current lives. Many of these young people I did not know, so I was a little surprised when I felt that knot in my stomach and the increasing desire to shed a tear. I began to think, "If I am emotional now, what will I be like when my own children's lives are portrayed on that screen?"
Of course that thought did not subside and after it was over I stood in the hallway talking with a dear friend who is sending 2 of her boys off to college in the Fall and her last child is entering High School. She shared with me the tears she had shed in the last two weeks as she readied herself for this night and went through pictures for the presentation. Many of those tears are joyful because her children are maturing into true followers of Christ, but some of those tears were from the realization and sadness of how short life truly is.
It is one of those facts that you know and you even talk about it with others at family reunions and birthday parties, but there are certain times when the realization sets in and you don't only know it in your head - but your heart gets it too and you are moved by it.
Scripture declares it this way, "For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (James 4:14)
Casting Crowns puts it into a tune, "I am a flower quickly fading - here today and gone tomorrow, a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind...", and grandmothers remind us, "Enjoy them while you can - they grow up fast." We hear it so often, but are we really listening? Are we heeding these words of wisdom?
I know that I personally can get so caught up in the demands of life that sometimes I forget to enjoy the living. I take my life and my family's lives for granted and at times even have the audacity to complain over my situation or circumstance. Oh, how I wish I could have it burned into my heart to take each day as a gift and realize the fragility of life and the fleeting nature of it.
One person wisely said "when the hourglass runs out of sand, you can't flip it over and start again". How true, yet how forgotten!
I don't want to be this person who dreads for the years to pass and is so focused on the passing that I miss the daily moments, but I also don't want to take for granted that each day is precious and never to be repeated. Time truly is our most valuable commodity and the reality is that once we spend it, it is gone. There is no getting it back, trading for more, or any other clever method. We have what God has ordained for us to have and not a minute more. The same is true with time with our children. We don't always have tomorrow - we have TODAY...really, we aren't even guaranteed more than the moment we are in.
It is my sincere prayer that I will be a good steward of the time He has given me and pour my heart into the most precious gifts He has placed in my care: my husband and children. When I get to that time when my "chicks take flight" I want to be able to look back on their time in our home and know that I intentionally savored every moment of that huge chapter of my life. I hope not one page of it will have been wasted or written in a hurry, but instead that each moment was filled with love and gratitude for every breath we shared together.