Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Lifetime of Time

I doubt if this butterfly worries about the life already lived.
He/She lives for the moment and that next taste of the sweet
nectar God gives to His littlest creatures.
I had two sobering occasions occur recently--my oldest child turned 44, and my oldest grandchild turned 15. That makes me at least 50 years old. Sigh.

Okay, okay, I'm older than 50 years old. How much older isn't important. My point is that despite my best efforts, neither my children nor my grandchildren have remained babies. In the case of my son and grandson, they grew up just as they were supposed to and evolved from adorable infants to fine men. Derek is middle-aged (oh, my gosh, I can't believe I just typed that), and Dustin is on the verge of adulthood. From all indications, he too will turn into a fine young man.

I also have two beautiful daughters (both over 40), and in addition to Dustin, I have four other grandsons (13, 9, 9, and 5) and a 5-year-old granddaughter. All of them share the same compassionate, intelligent, and hard-working characteristics as Derek and Dustin. I'm surrounded by incredible people--and they're all younger than me.

How on earth did that happen? Wasn't it just last month that I was the youngest in the office, the baby of the restaurant where I waited tables? Wasn't it last week that I was the youngest office manager in the state's social services system? What happened to those 40 or so years? How did I go from the youngest in just about every situation in which I found myself to being the oldest person in the room?

Well, if I stopped blathering long enough I'd realize that time is what happened. The passage of time--that slow, but inexorable ticking of the clock, second by minute by hour by day until the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months and the months to years. The years? Well, they turned to decades, and eventually, they'll turn into a lifetime.

A lifetime of time. Sounds odd, doesn't it? But that's what life is. Time. God has given us the time to live our lives, and coupled with the gifts He imbues us with, the opportunity to live those lives, to spend all that time in His service. He desires that we become the men and women He intends us to be and to live out our time on earth glorifying our Heavenly Father.

The older I become, the more clearly I see not only His Hand in my life, but the ways in which He wants me to behave, the paths He wants me to take and those He wants me to avoid. Of course, decades of experience helped make my vision clearer, but looking backward at more years already lived than I have before me can have the same sobering effect as a slap across the face with a large, wet fish. I've already lived many more years than I will live during my entire future on this planet. Not everyone can say that, so I'm careful to remember that I'm fortunate to be growing older. Some people never have that chance. Their lives are sometimes over before they really begin--or at least before they gain traction. The fact that God has allowed me to live this many years means He still has something for me to accomplish in His Name.

Now I can either bemoan the years that have passed as if their passing were a bad thing, or I can rejoice that those years happened in the first place--that my children and grandchildren were born and grew into fine human beings. They have their paths to take; I have mine. Just because I started out on my path before theirs began isn't a bad thing. Mine will end before theirs, as well, but that will be because I've accomplished all I was supposed to. They still have things to do, places to go, people to meet and influence, spouses to marry, children to raise, jobs to work at. Lives  are staggered that way for purposes that only God knows fully, but I know one thing. If we were all born at the same time, lived our lives and died at the same time, life would be one big train wreck.

God knows what He's doing. Allowing me to celebrate the birthdays, anniversaries, births, joys, and triumphs of my children and grandchildren is a privilege only He can bestow. How dare I diminish that great blessing by bemoaning the fact they're growing older along with me?

I am blessed beyond comprehension and have joys that defy explanation all because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord.

Until the next time ...