We went out to dinner recently, just the four of us. My husband sat with our 6-year-old. They had a wonderful time talking, playing games and coloring the kids menu. I sat with our 2-year-old. I spent my time cutting up food, asking her repeatedly to just sit still, and attempting to figure out why she had taken her shoes off. I found myself looking ahead eagerly to the day when both kids were easy – wishing away ages 2 and 3!
But later that night I was able to cuddle with my sweet daughter and I found myself clinging desperately to this innocent age. My six-year-old will still cuddle and hug – thank goodness. But when we cuddle, he doesn’t quite fit the same. He’s too tall, too big; he doesn’t fit in my lap! The phase of life when I can cuddle with my son is quickly coming to an end.
As our youngest goes through different stages of her young life, we have been able to get rid of the baby stuff! We disposed of the crib, the high chair is gone, 99% of the toys she played with as a baby are gone, every piece of infant clothing has been donated. As someone who likes to be organized and uncluttered, this brings me great joy!! But with it comes sadness for the passing of time that seems to be moving far too quickly.
We recently gave away the rocking glider that has been in the nursery since the moment we even began to consider getting pregnant the first time; some 7 or so years ago. This was surprisingly hard for me. Why? It is just a chair! But to think of the hours of time I spent in that chair, often in the quiet darkness, rocking slowly and humming softly to my tiny baby that would not go to sleep. The removal of that chair is a reminder of how that phase of life is too quickly becoming a distant memory.
Though I am often quick to wish away a stage of life, I will also find myself looking into the past with sadness, disappointed that a phase of my life is over.
The passage of time is so difficult to understand and appreciate. We will try to wish it away, or wish it would stand still, or wish for times that have passed. But the one truth is that time will move forward. With each tick-tock of that clock, a moment goes by. Life is fast, and so very unpredictable.
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:4-7
Even thousands of years ago, the psalmist struggled with the passage of time. (I had to google the word handbreadth, by the way. It is a unit of measure – simply enough, the width of a hand.)
We can’t control time. Better said, we can’t control the fact that our human life will move forward through the movement of a clock, and for each of us this clock will stop. What follows is an eternity of existence which is beyond our earthly understanding. We CAN, however, control how we live this time we have.
I’ve been listening to a lot of music by For King & Country lately. Their song ‘Fix my Eyes’ applies perfectly:
“The things of earth are dimming; In the light of Your glory and grace.
I’ll set my sights upon Heaven. I’m fixing my eyes on You.”
We will get older. Our family will continue to clear out the “stuff” as each phase of life passes. We can spend a lot of time dwelling on the past, or wishing for the future. Or, we can live in the moment. For each fleeting moment is an opportunity to use our short time on earth for God’s glory.