In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of things that cry out for our attention, there is no greater reminder of how quickly time slips through our fingers than that of our children. They graduate from phase to phase, so fast that by the time we parents learn to deal with the challenges of a tantrum-throwing toddler, we find them asking questions on interpersonal problems at school.
So such it is with Anne and Caleb, our two little stowaway adventurers who’ve become fellow journeymen and constant companions of our lives. It seems only yesterday Anne was born; how silently 6 years have passed! Shy Caleb has turned to rambunctious Caleb to well-mannered Caleb, and even as I write this, he’s already morphing into some new phase of cognitive development, complete with new challenges and joys.
Age is really beginning to catch up with us. For the first time in my life, sheer force of will is no longer enough to overcome the lead in my legs as I insist on chasing down kids less than half my age on the neighbourhood basketball court. I stretch to go in one direction, but there’s this perceptible lag between what my mind wants and what my body performs. I stubbornly refuse to accept the fact I’m past the age some professional basketball players retire, but the symptoms are undeniably visible.
We’re also starting to come face to face with our mortality, and even more immediately, that of our parents.
Dad just celebrated his 70th, a momentous milestone by any measure, but I must admit in my heart that there is a growing worry. The assumptions of life and health of our family and ourselves — assumptions that we so carelessly took for granted in our youth no longer stand up to the stark reality that everything earthly eventually atrophies.
As friends and colleagues around me deal with their parents’ declining health, I brace myself for the same eventuality.
It dawns on me that time is short for us all, and we ought to spend it wisely. For all the words that I should have said and not said, all the things I should have done and not done, there is no time for regret, only swift decision.
To love, to share, and to serve.