It's Astounding, Time Is Fleeting
We dropped my middle son Jackson off at the University of Arkansas this past month—by “we,” I mean my wife and youngest son, Jacob.
It’s an odd thing to drop your kid off at college. Most likely, you spend nearly an entire day setting up their dorm room with everything you brought, then invariably heading off to Target to purchase all the things you didn’t bring.
And then you get all the posters and whatnot hung, the sheets on the bed, the desk arranged just so, and you take photos of everyone standing in front of the newly decorated space, and eventually, you say goodbye and drive off.
That’s the point when either right then or the next day, they rearrange the damn thing all over again because that’s kind of what they need to do. This is precisely what happened.
Even though my wife had sworn she wouldn’t cry when we left him, she did. I kind of laughed at her and told her a hundred times that he would be all right, she would be all right, and everything would be all right.
Meanwhile, I was falling apart, not wanting anyone to know it.
I suppose I was too busy making sure that everyone was good, and when they weren’t good, I was trying to comfort them in whatever small way that I could—be it laughing, hugging, you know, the kinds of things you do.
I get uncomfortable in those moments; sue me.
But driving home the next day, I got to thinking about my middle boy and his life with us, and it all hit me that he was gone and living his life.
He wasn’t supposed to be born, you know. They told us in the dead of winter at a hospital in Chicago. We went in a week later expecting him to be gone, but his heart was strong, and he defied all the odds, much to the shock of the doctors.
Jackson has always marched to the beat of his drum, which is ironic considering how he now marches to the rhythm of the Arkansas Razorbacks Marching Band (Woo pig! Sooie!). But he always has done things his particular way.
As maddening as this has been as a parent at times, I have always admired him for it. I also know that it will serve him well to stand out in life for all the best reasons.
I know that I haven’t been a perfect parent—far from it. But in hindsight, I know I did the best I could and considering what an extraordinary person Jackson has turned out to be, that’s enough for me.
We mark the turning points in our lives in odd ways, we humans. And sometimes, we’re surprised at how moving through the various stages of our lives affects us.
I know that I now feel gratitude, hope, and no small amount of joy, but I also feel sad and far too aware of how fleeting time is and how short our time with the ones we love happens to be.
Which makes me all the more determined to live every single day to the fullest, which I am convinced God desires for us to do. And I’m also determined to live more fully into myself, exactly as I am and am meant to be—following my son’s example as he does the same.
We are meant for more, you and I. We are meant to live abundant lives, becoming our best and truest selves with every step on our journey of stumbling after Jesus.
May we live more fully into wholeness and happiness as we learn to let go of pretending we have it all together and simply feel our joys and sorrows with the same loving embrace.
And may we do so mindful of the fleeting nature of time--perhaps our most precious commodity.
May this be so for you today and every day from this day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.