For twenty five years I have been raising kids, frequently feeling stuck in a time warp much like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. As soon as one child gains a little independence, another arrives. But lately I have had such a sense of time and the inevitable changes it brings. Three kids have left the nest, and three more are perched on the branch, preparing to fly. Some still a few years away, but I know it will seem like no time at all.
Looking out the window on the way to church Sunday morning, I caught a glimpse of an elderly gentleman ambling toward a cemetery. He was dressed in his Sunday best. Hands in his pockets, his gait was slow, a shuffle almost. Even though I only saw him from a distance, I was struck by his seeming sadness.
Maybe it is because another anniversary of my mother's death is approaching. Anyone who has lost their mom is familiar with the emotion it evokes--even running across one of her favorite brands while shopping last week made me teary. Hard for me to believe that my four youngest have no memory of my mother. It seems impossible that she has been gone for over a decade.
Or perhaps it is that Hope is 14 months with four teeth popping through and already calling some of her siblings by name. Slow down, I urge her--and the rest of the family agrees. Well, except Silas, maybe.
"These are the best years of your life, with all the kids around your feet," my dad once told me. Many years have passed since he offered that advice, and I still have plenty of kids underfoot. But my perspective has changed. I have shifted from thinking that nothing ever changes to knowing everything does.
I guess time has taught me that life consists of a series of changes. Some come suddenly, some so gradual that I don't notice until it is upon me, staring me in the face. I am finally starting to get it, and it has caused me to brake where I use to accelerate, to amble instead of rush. Much like the dear old man in the cemetery, my gait has changed from mad dash to a slow and steady saunter. And if I had stopped to ask his viewpoint, I am certain he would have given me a charge to live more deliberately, more intentionally along the way.
I sure am trying.
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever."
-- Hebrews 13:8