Happily ever after… Outside of a children’s book or a cheeky movie like The Princess Bride, I don’t think anyone really uses that term in a serious way. But I do think the mindset exists.
I think a lot of us have this sort of feeling that somewhere, someday, everything will all fall into place and life will work itself out.
Someday there’ll be time enough for everything. The credit card balance will be at zero, those unwanted 15 pounds will have melted away, and you’ll have mastered that extra language you always talk about learning.
In the meantime, the clock is ticking and if you don’t take notice, ten years have slipped through your fingers. Procrastination, taking things for granted….dilly-dallying, as one of my sister in-laws likes to put it. I think we all do it. Sometimes though, we’re just swamped with all of life’s obligations.
To be clear, I love my life. I even have days that come close to perfection. But there are those days that simply seem like synchronized chaos, and getting dinner on the table is a feat in itself. On those days, learning to play the guitar really is something that’s going to happen someday.
I remember in my innocence as a teenager speaking to someone about God and Jesus and making the claim that it doesn’t matter what your problem was – Jesus was the answer! Thank the Lord for spiritual growth. I do believe that Jesus is the answer. But He never promised to make all of our troubles disappear. He never promised that our life would be easy. In fact, He guaranteed that as a result of serving Him, we’d have more trouble and challenges in our lives. (Mathew 10:22)
It seems like yesterday when the doctor put my little girl into my arms for the first time. I remember looking at her with wonder and amazement. The most beautiful little creature, weighing in at just 2.5kg. Then I blinked and she had a little brother. I blinked again and she was off to school for the first time. Blink – her brother was in school as well. Blink – high school. Blink – we’re discussing colleges.
As I say this, I have this huge lump in my throat.
I’m not ready.
There’s so much more that I’d like to teach her, so much more that I want to do with her…so little time. My daughter on the other hand is like a race-horse at the gate, ready to go, looking forward to the future with excitement, as she should be. And while she can’t wait for the next phase of her life to start, I have to make sure that I help her make the most out of today.
Life, growing, learning, marriage, parenting; it can be messy and difficult and hard. But those are also the very things worth living for. Jesus said that He came so that we could have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). That abundant life doesn’t start one day when we go to heaven; it’s already started.
My son has always loved having me around to watch him play. When he was younger, I actually had to work at getting him to be able to play a little more independently. As he’s gotten older and more independent, he calls me to watch less and less. Now when he calls me to come and watch him ramp his bike over a dirt pile in the yard or his latest daredevil stunt on the jungle gym, I quickly go and watch, if at all possible.
There’s times I have to tell him, just give me a few minutes – I have a deadline. Sometimes I have to say I’m sorry, I just can’t get away right now. But sometimes I go and watch my son right then, the chores and deadlines just have to wait. Because soon it will be over and I will never get to watch him become a young man again.
Life is often filled with second chances, but we only get one chance at every moment. Once a moment’s gone, it will be gone forever and you’ll only be left with what you did with it. You’re going to be busy, sure. But don’t dilly-dally. And be careful how much time you spend on stuff that doesn’t matter. There’s too much at stake.
My husband talked to an old friend yesterday. He asked his friend if things have quieted down now that his kids are off on their own. ‘Ha, you wait ten or fifteen years and the grandkids start coming around. You’ll be busier than ever. Our kids still come to us all the time for advice and needs. It’s never quiet, just different. But all good.’
Of course my husband teased his friend about being ‘grandpa’ now. Grandpa just smiled contently.