"Isn't it funny how day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different..."
I remember over a decade ago sitting in our yet-unremodeled dining room (carpet in a dining room with kids? Not a good combination)--I probably had braids in my hair, because that was my gold standard for hairstyles back then. And as a youngster of ten, I had an epiphany about the passage of time while eating my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. "Mama, Mama! In ten years, Micah will be ten, and Susanna will be twelve, and Melanie will be SIXTEEN and Lauren and I will be TWENTY!" Oh, the unfathomableness of twenty.
I little dreamed that God would bring another little brother to join our family. Or that terrorists would hijack planes and run them into buildings I had never heard of before. Or that I would teach violin and piano--and love it. Or that God would speak to me and reveal Himself to me in such precious ways, constantly drawing me to Him and sanctifying me for His good purposes.
Life is funny that way. All your plans vanish in the face of the unexpected. And then, one day, you gain that thing they call "perspective," and you look back with gladness at the forks in the road and the unforeseen events. (Though, admittedly, my perspective is quite trivial and my experience short with only 22 years of living!)
When I look back to compare then with now and find everything different, I am filled with a yearning to make everything the same. To have all four sisters sleeping in the same room, Lauren and I talking until late at night about all our plans for a woodland fort, Melanie and Susanna eavesdropping and conspiring to cause a ruckus. To have Jonah toddling around and actually enjoying the kisses I bestow upon him. To go for our annual shopping trip at Fred Meyer to procure the essential saltwater sandals (wear them at the beach! church! and everything in between!). To have Micah carefree and eager to go out with me in the dark night to collect eggs from the "bak-baks"--he didn't know it, but his happy presence was what kept my heart from pounding, my adrenaline from coursing through my veins, and my imagination from terrifying me about things that go bump in the night.
All these precious things are forever gone. I cry at the realization of it.
Then I look around. Susanna, taking the phone from Jonah just to say hello during a break in my day. Lauren, with me wherever I go as we teach and play and help a friend pack and sit through board meetings and so much more. Jonah, asking just two weeks ago to have a slumber party in my room after a year-long hiatus. Melanie, finding science experiments for my latest project, and taking advantage of kitchen duty together to talk a blue streak. Micah, meeting me at the car to carry up my things and playing with me during the church worship service.
On the eve of my 12th birthday, I wrote in my journal,
"Here is a list of things I'll try too [sic] do when I'm an adult;
- If I have any girls I'll try too [sic] do a tea party a year.
- I won't spank when I'm angry, nor will I spank more than 7 times.
- I will try to sew most of the clothes we wear.
- I will not accquire alot [sic] of junk. (ie after getting a happy meal toy we will throw them away etc.)"
How on earth I came up with such a motley assemblage of resolutions, I have no idea, but it provides both amusement and inspiration now that I seem to have reached this adult stage.
Where will I be in ten years? (I'll be THIRTY-TWO!) Where will my family be in ten years? Ten becomes Jonah so well. How could the years possibly march on and turn him into a twenty year-old?
In the spirit of my twelve year-old self, I give you four new resolutions to provide both amusement and inspiration:
- I won't fret over what others think of me.
- I will love my family and those around me unconditionally as Jesus did--not based on performance, but based upon their preciousness in the sight of God.
- I will read a book a month.
- I will not buy my children happy meals. (Solves two problems in one! No junk toys and no junk food! Do you know what's in those things?)
Ten years...it's a long time. Only God knows what it will bring. When I look into the eyepiece, expecting to see the path ahead magnified, I realize I am not looking through binoculars--I'm peering through a kaleidoscope. The view is colorful and bright, but indiscernible and unpredictable. It's going to be a beautiful, wild ride! And, meanwhile, I am more determined than ever to savor the preciousness of every relationship.
C.S. Lewis quote taken from Prince Caspian
Photo Credit: M. Jeremy Goldman