As I drove my dad back to the airport this afternoon (he had come down from Wisconsin for a visit), we were talking about what really matters in life. [My dad and I have had kind of an up and down relationship throughout the years, so the fact that we've gotten to a place where we can easily talk about something fairly deep is (in my eyes) pretty remarkable, and pretty wonderful as well.]
The conversation had begun over lunch when I shared with him the story of a neighbor who's daughter (19) was killed suddenly in an accident last week. I commented that it was the kind of event which makes all of the other parents who know the family, or who attend the service, or who just hear about it on the local Facebook page, count their blessings.
Because, of course, when you hear about something so tragic (which we do more often than any of us would like to admit) we say, "Oh how awful, thank God it wasn't my child."
"The thing is," I said to my dad, "most moms and dads spend their days believing they have a l-o-n-g time to influence their kids. They think that because they brought their kids into the world, they are going to see them grow up, get married, have careers and families. But, there is no guarantee our children WILL grow up, or that WE will be there to see them do it."
He agreed. And together we reaffirmed the most important aspect of our journey here, which is working towards good relationships with the people in our lives.
We hear the saying all the time, "Life is short." Yet we spend our days worrying about how we'll pay the mortgage, or how our spouse will handle the job demotion, or how many "likes" we'll receive about something we've written on Facebook.
When the gods-honest truth is, none of that amounts anything at all in the grand scheme of life. All of the fuss we make when life disappoints us (in some way or another) becomes our focus instead of the many, many beautiful things God allows us to enjoy every single day.
Like our children, our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our friends, and the sunshine, and the smell of movie theater popcorn...
Do yourself a big favor... if you are lucky enough to wake up tomorrow morning, make it count by working on the relationships in your life. Work towards finding and defining your purpose and in creating a life YOU can be excited about.
Because, time does run out...sometimes, sooner than you think.