There is a transition that takes place in life from looking ahead towards dreams unfulfilled to looking back and remembering. I don’t exactly know when it happens, but one day you awaken to realize that most of your life is behind you, and most of your dreams have either been realized, or exchanged for other visions. I am among the fortunate ones – I got to realize most of my dreams.
I turned 55 today. Actually right about 8:30 this morning I hit this milestone which qualifies me for AARP. I don’t know how I got here, but I do know it was a wild and exciting, fun-filled, and often painful ride. Not a Merry-Go-Round, but a modern roller coaster that left me breathless and adrenalin pumped. Even feeling queasy at times. There were a lot of occasions that Dave and I would have liked the quiet ride, but you can’t always choose what tickets are given to you. God hands them out according to what ride He thinks will have Kingdom effects. Sometimes, opportunity came along for us to hop on a ride of our choosing and we mistakenly chose the wrong one, but even then there is always a different view, a different perspective to be gained from up there, hanging on for life.
All of the random temperament tests I take come out the same – I am a lover, a servant, a loyal friend, devoted to family, given to rejection, a leader but prefer a team setting, yada-yada. Mostly true, though the rejection part is getting better as I rest in the unconditional love of Christ, and a husband who has modeled it faithfully for 32 years. I wasn’t a wanted child and heard it enough growing up. I spent the better part of my earlier life laughing it off, a few years after my mothers death, grieving and reconciling it, and recent years in empathy for the woman who raised me from the place of her own pain. As a lover, it set in me a deep desire to have the family I always wanted – and I did.
I was granted the privilege of a marriage far different from my parents which was filled with arguments and bitterness. I was blessed with eight amazing children, and three I will get to meet in heaven. Now, 10 grandchildren grace our lives.
We were able to own our dream property – above. For 7 years we lived the life I fantasized about as a child – big family – raising our own food, all home together laughing, loving, Dave working from home, coffee and breakfast together in the mornings… We knew we were never retire, but we had a retirement dream life. We lost the farm – we lost the dream with the job loss of 2009, but it came true for a season. I’ll take the bitter with the sweet.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says is clearly”There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven; A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.…”
We were uprooted, but that is OK. God has a purpose and even the painful stuff is working in us something bigger. Something better.
To say it was all rosy would be a lie. I have many regrets over the last twenty years. I wish I could go back and do some things over again. We would plan more, and live by the seat of our pants less. I would take better care of Dave. I would love more and yell less. I would establish more boundaries for my own health and well-being. I would let Jesus love me from a place of grace and not waste time on years of legalism, and see that filter down into the lives of my children when they were young and impressionable.
I would stop and smell the flowers more – gaze at the stars- do more unit studies – pet the dogs.
Collect more colored fall leaves and seal them in waxed paper, press more flowers, make my own beeswax candles. Can more of my own vegetables. Raise chickens sooner, color Easter eggs, and celebrate the birth of Christ.
And through it all we held on fast to the promises that this fleeting life is just the beginning. Life and death, joy and pain, rich and poor – life continues moving forward.
And we find new dreams to look forward to, new lives to greet, new friends to be made, and always the good-byes that come too quickly.
another lifetime of joy and sorrow to share together.
A toast – L’ Chaim. To Life.