It’s all a matter of perspective.
When I lived in Alaska, where we had 100 inches of rain a year, I longed for blue skies and sunshine. Now, in New Mexico, I dream of rain. When I was a child, I’d do anything to get to stay up just a little later at night. Now, I find myself asking, at 8:30, "Is it bedtime yet?" (And I’ve also been known to say, “I sure hope there’ll be beds in heaven!”)
And so it is with children. I yearned for children, before my boys were born, and was more than ecstatic both times that I learned one was on the way. And those pre-school days, when I was blessed to stay home with my boys, were the happiest times of my entire life. Every milestone they met was something to celebrate. Maneuvering through every new phase – even the “terrible twos,” the “’tween years” and the “teen years” – was a joy. Parenthood IS all it’s cracked up to be. I cried tears of joy for my kids, tears of emptiness for me, when they graduated and, soon after, moved away from home.
But, like I said, it’s all a matter of perspective.
Tim just moved back home with us – temporarily, until he can find new employment. And, as much as I delighted in those days when my house was full of boys, toys and noise, I’m looking at it, now, from the other side – from another perspective. Bill Cosby, speaking about boomerang kids, like Tim, says, “Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.” That has to be because of the everlasting love that human parents have for their children. Tim knows we love him. He knows he’ll always find a soft place to land here at our home. And, yet, his joy and relief will probably only be rivaled by ours when he, once again, has his own place.
Solomon understood all of this so well:
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
When our lives and timelines get a little jumbled, it takes extra measures of love, patience, compromise, prayer and wisdom to navigate the strait. We’ll get through just fine, and I’ll continue to thank God for His extraordinary gift, to me, of children and family.
And in the meantime, maybe I'll watch some Cosby Show reruns. It doesn't hurt to have a little humor at times like these, as well.
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