This morning, I walked out on our deck and I was just overwhelmed with such an awesome sense of peace. The air was cool and a slight breeze blew through the trees. My children were done with school and chores and were all playing nicely in the backyard. I looked out at our garden, which is growing so well. The beauty of God's creation is such a blessing and inspires joy in me. As I stood there for a minute and breathed deep, I thought to myself, "I wish it could just stay like this." What I mean is, I wish all my children could stay young, altogether living at home, here in this house in the country. I just wouldn't change a thing. But, I know that time will go on and you can't capture a moment in time.
It reminded me of that song called "Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce. When I was pregnant with Anna, Cameron and I went to Montana to visit my brother. As we left him, and I knew I wouldn't see him for a long time, in my hormonal state I cried and cried and made Cameron play that song over and over. I was a mess and I am sure Cameron thought I was nuts. To this day, I can't listen to that song without feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness for all of the moments that are gone, never to be relived and I am sad for all of the moments in the future that will one day pass: One day, I will no longer have a sweet baby in the house to hold and smell and nurse. One day, my sons and daughters won't ask me to read aloud to them anymore. One day, we will only be "half" a family as our children start to leave the nest and we only have the younger set at home. I am sure I will feel a sense of incompleteness then and will long for the chaos of these days in which I have a loud and always slightly messy house. My children may choose to live far away from us, just as Cameron and I have done to our parents. I always have a little sadness mixed with my joy when I gaze at the beautiful springtime blossoms on the Bradford Pear Trees, knowing they are so fleeting. I enjoy them, but I know they aren't going to last and I can't do anything to make them stay. Even now, as I age and have more wrinkles than I used to and gone is my youthful, pre-baby body, I am reminded that one day I will grow old and eventually die. Time will run out.
However, just recently, my excitement for heaven has increased. As I dwell on the fact that I can't hold onto the moments, I remind myself that the story is not over when death closes my eyes to this world, and I need not wallow in my sadness at things bygone. I can look forward, with joy, to a time that will never end. A time in which all my children, Lord willing, will be with me for eternity, praising our God. A time with a different form of government, in which we no longer have to worry about unjust laws and corrupt leaders. We will be living in a monarchy with a perfect and loving King. A time in which we will no longer struggle with sin. One day, we will be glorified and will know God fully. We will have an understanding behind the why of the events in our lives; we will see the big picture and how our lives fit into God's plan of redemption for mankind. Sometimes, when I am praising God, I feel like I am on the edge of some indescribable joy, but I can't fully plunge into its depths yet. Not quite yet. But one day.
The old adage "this too shall pass" has helped me to put things into perspective when I am struggling with a certain season in my life, such as waking up for a 2 am feeding, dealing with morning sickness, or disciplining my children. I know that the benefit of having many children, and their eternal souls, outweighs the earthly, and temporary, discomfort I suffer now. For time is so fleeting and we are not promised tomorrow. We have to have an eternal perspective. We have to have this perspective as we spend our money, plan our family, purchase unnecessary items, fritter time away on meaningless activities. I know that I can't capture the moments in a bottle to enjoy again later, but I can "capture" every moment for Christ. I love the thought that "right now counts for eternity". That puts everything into perspective. Eternity. What a glorious thought.
So, as I struggle with my emotions of sadness at watching the days slip by, I am encouraged that that I have SO MUCH MORE to look forward to in the future. The best is yet to come!
In Christ, Laura