I have come to the point in my life where I want to see things more clearly. I want to take the time to look closely at whatever I find at any given moment. I want to appreciate life more, not just the big things, but also the small things, in their tiniest details. It feels to me as if I have lived the majority of my life in “fast-forward” motion.
It started during my high school years, when I was juggling school, jobs, an active social life, and far too many extra-curricular activities. I remember making lists and schedules to keep up with everything. Life was always lived “on the run” and there seemed to be very little time to sleep, much less just to sit and take it all in.
The pace didn’t slow during my adult years, as I juggled life as a wife, mother, and business owner. I seemed to spend as much time at my children’s school as they did, constantly volunteering for PTA, room mother, field trips, Junior Achievement, and more. I managed my home and family during the week while my husband traveled with his job, and I worked on the magazine, which I published, at night, while my kids were sleeping. My husband was wonderful about taking over the responsibilities on the weekends so that I could catch up on some sleep, but there never seemed to be time to slow down and just enjoy the moment.
I thought, perhaps, things would slow down once my children were teens, but it didn’t happen. Life threw us some serious curve balls with unexpected deaths in the family, my husband’s and my health problems, and our son’s devastating paralysis when he was 16. There were days when I didn’t think I’d make it. I didn’t know if my body would physically handle the emotional stress which seemed to be overwhelming my soul.
I survived those trials. My whole family survived. Frankly, it was hard to give in to the pain when we watched how our son handled suddenly losing his ability to walk, just when his life was about to get exciting. He was three months away from getting his driver’s license – every teen’s dream. He spent 40 days and nights in the hospital, recovering and learning how to live life from a wheelchair. It was a glorious day when he finally got to come home, but the battle was really just beginning. Nothing was the same in his life, and it never would be again.
Through all of the horrible things that were happening to him, something magnificent happened, as well. He learned to trust God, fully and completely. He asked me for his Bible as he was being taken to the ambulance on a stretcher. He didn’t open it, but held it closely to his chest.
There were many ups and downs over the years; seemingly endless obstacles to overcome. We gave it over to God, and He used our trials to strengthen our faith as well as to minister to others in similar circumstances. It has been almost 12 years and, yet, sometimes my eyes still fill with tears when I see my son struggling to accomplish something that would be so much easier if he could walk. But I’m so proud of his bravery, and how he has never given up. There will, no doubt, be tears in my eyes again in a few days, as I watch him being ordained into ministry.
My home is very quiet these days during the week. The kids are grown and making their on ways in the world. But it bustles with nonstop laughter and activity on the weekends, when the grandkids are here!
There is something about having grandkids that makes one stop and take notice of the importance of little things. Maybe it’s because the things they say and do remind us so much of when our own children were little, and how quickly that time passed. I know that the grandkids will be grown in a blink of an eye, as well, and I want to savor every moment with them while I can. I want to take time to look at the pictures when reading to them. I want to roll around on the floor with them, to build forts with blankets and castles with blocks. Some of my best conversations with them happen at night, when we’re sitting outside, counting the stars in the sky.
That desire seems to have spilled over into every aspect of my life. I find myself pulling over to the side of the road sometimes, just to admire the brilliance of a blue sky or a golden sunset. I find myself carrying my camera around so I can capture the autumn leaves at their peak or spring flowers in full bloom. I sit in stillness on a wintry day, enjoying the silence of a snow-covered world. One of my favorite things to do these days is just to stand back and watch as my family is gathered around the dinner table, laughing and talking.
I have come to a point in my life where the phrase, “Wherever you’re at, be all there,” has significant meaning to me. Maybe having grandchildren brought me there. Maybe it’s just because I’m older now, and it’s something that comes with age, although I’m not sure everyone gets there. Maybe it’s because my relationship with God has grown immensely as I’ve learned to trust Him in every aspect of my life, and He has led me to the point where I can truly find joy and blessing in all things. I think that’s it. It’s a wonderful place to be.