Because sometimes I feel like he’s missing it.

Tonight my son graduated from Preschool.  It’s amazing how fast time goes by.  It’s funny, actually.  Sometimes I feel like the day will never end.  Other times I look up and wonder how it is possible that this baby that was born yesterday will be registering for Kindergarten tomorrow.  And my daughter wants “high heels” and lip gloss, giggles with her friends about boys and seems to grow before my very eyes.  The truth is, time is flying by and sometimes I think my husband is missing it.

Like I said, tonight was Preschool graduation.  It seems silly, in a way.  I mean, what are they graduating from?  But it’s a big deal for my son and a real milestone.  Next year he heads to the big school and it won’t all be singing and finger painting.  My husband decided to try to go to a meeting before the program started so he told Patrick he’d meet him there.  And he was there, I’ll give him that. But his meeting was still going on so very shortly after the program was over he left again.  So he missed the good parts, the parts where our son talked about his day and his favorite things about Preschool.  The parts that don’t happen during an official program but happen instead when he’s putting on his pajamas and getting tucked into bed.

We’ve also been talking about what kind of after-harvest vacation we’ll take this year.  Already we are leaving the planning to much later than I would prefer but at least he’s talking about it.  I would have liked to plan it out a year ago but Chris is hesitant to do that usually. So we’re talking about it now.  But he doesn’t want to commit to dates.  Instead, he says, “why don’t we just fit it in as soon as harvest is over.”  But the problem is that just makes me feel like we’re something he just “fits in” to his life. 

I feel like these are the years.  Helen is almost 8, Patrick is 5.  I realize that they are still young but soon, so soon, they will be pre-teens and then teens, kids with so many other things in their lives.  Kids with summer camps and jobs and other things taking their attention.  These are the years we really get.  And these are the summers they will remember.  Because when I think of great family vacations I think of road trips and camping trips when I was 7-8-9-10…before my summers became about hanging out with my friends and boyfriends and all the other things.  These are the years and I feel like he’s missing them.

Can I tell you the truth?  Sometimes, when I’m thinking about the “what’s next” questions, I’m thinking about the quiet years that are coming.  The years when it will just be me rattling around in this big old house.  And if my husband can’t make plans and take time for his children, he likely won’t be taking time for me.  So what will I be doing then?  Maybe my “what’s next” questions aren’t as much about what to do next year when the kids are both in school full time as they are about what happens when they spread their wings and fly out of my little nest.  


Because it’s just not fair

Today one of my husband’s best high school friends, a man who was a groomsman in our wedding is going to a funeral.  And it’s not just any funeral, it’s a funeral for his wife.  That’s right, his lovely young wife, only 30 years old, died of heart failure a couple of weeks ago.  Due to complications stemming from a childhood battle with cancer she needed a heart/lung transplant but her health wasn’t deemed good enough to get her on the list.  So for the last several months a husband was forced to sit by and watch his wife die.  It’s just not fair.

In my email inbox this morning there was an update email about the cancer battle of a young mom in my community, someone I’ve gone to Bible studies with, someone who I see at the pool in the summer and library storytime during the school year.  She has two beautiful daughters, ages 9 and 2 and her doctor just gave her 2-3 months to live and hospice has been called in.  It is so unfair.

3 1/2 years ago my very own precious sister, only 32 years old, wife of a man who loved her, mother of two beautiful girls ages 8 and 10, died in a car accident on a snowy December night. She had so much left to do.  It was very, very unfair.

There is nothing to say in response to things like these.  There is nothing that can take away the pain, nothing that will make the left behind husbands and children, friends and family feel better.  There are no words and sometimes, believe me, silence is better than anything you could possibly say in a time like this.

But I also like to remember that Jesus knows about things like this.  And not just in that “Oh, God knows everything you think” kind of airy way that we sometimes respond to people.  No, Hebrews 4:15 assures us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses.”  The high priest that the author of Hebrews is talking about is Jesus.  Jesus knows about things like this because he experienced things like this.

When I was thinking about Jesus’ experience of unfair things I thought about John the Baptist.  Here was a man completely dedicated to following God’s will for his life.  The Bible said that he lived in the wilderness and ate locusts and wild honey but we also know that his father was a priest and his mother was a descendant of the line of Aaron.  So we can assume that John’s family had some status and probably some wealth.  But John chose to leave all of that, even to leave the high expectations of the circumstances of his birth to live in the wilderness and eat bugs.  This was following God all-out.  Then he preaches to crowds and he preaches hard things, not just “God’s gonna bless you” sermons but “You brood of vipers” type sermons. But for all of this faithfulness and following God, what does John get?  Beheaded.  That’s right, a pretty girl asked for his head, literally.  It was just not fair.

The Bible says that Jesus, when hearing about John’s death, retreated to a solitary place.  Or, at least, he tried to.  But the crowds followed him and the disciples needed him and the Pharisees challenged him.  Jesus knew about the unfairness of life.  And he knew, I’m sure, about the insensitive things people say in the face of a tragedy like that (because, surely, with all the people around Him after John’s death, someone said something stupid.)

I guess what matters to me about all of this is that life just isn’t fair.  But Jesus knows all about that, He has experienced it and He is there to hold on to through all the unfairness.