We just returned from a 6 day trip to Ohio. That’s 2 days of driving for 4 days of visiting. These short trips are always over in a flash. This one was no different. There are always so many people we would like to see but just don’t have the time.
This trip was about family, like it usually is. But with a greater sense of urgency to spend time with people we love. My father turned 80 this year and I can’t figure out how that happened. He doesn’t seem old to me, actually in my mind he is still in his 50s. Somehow the last 30 years have sped by. We tried to spend as much time as we could with family and then squeezed in a few friends as well. And I had to make time for the grandchildren!
On our second day there, my 4 year old grandson, Jacob called me on the phone at six in the morning. He wanted to know if he could stay home from preschool and spend the day with me. What a gift! We had lunch together, searched for eggs from the chickens and then spent half an hour cleaning our shoes. We played with legos and he chattered about dozens of topics. It was a perfect day and ended with him jumping out of our van and saying, “I had a great day with you Grandma.”
One of the other things we had to accomplish on this trip was to deliver some of Aaron’s and Jason’s belongings that they’d left in Iowa and to pick up a grandfather clock.
Randy build the clock for my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary in 1984. While it was on “the list” of things we would inherit one day, it had stopped working and Dad had decided to give it to us now hoping that Randy would be able to get it running again. While they were loading the clock into the van I was thinking about all the years that had passed since we gave them that clock. So many wonderful memories as well as some very difficult seasons. And now the clock was moving on to the next generation and would stand guard over many more family gatherings.
As we were traveling back to Iowa, I watched the scenery go by and realized that this would likely be the last time I would ever travel this route. While we will visit family in Iowa and Ohio, we probably won’t have reason to travel between the two. A while back I wrote a piece called Firsts and Lasts about how we often don’t recognize the last time we will do something. With this trip, there was a definite awareness of some “lasts” as well as some wondering about whether other things could perhaps be lasts as well.
We just never know what’s ahead. The only thing we can be sure of is that God’s timing is perfect. If our lives are in His hands, we can rest in the fact that whether it looks like it or not, the time line is also in His control. We’ve talked many times about how this Florida move is a few years late. My grandpa lived in Florida for more than 30 years, why couldn’t we have moved there while he was still alive? He would have been so happy to have family there with him. Why did everything wait until 2 years after he’d died? It’s easy to get caught up in wondering why things didn’t work out differently. But I think that robs of us the joy of whatever season we’re in. We can’t change the past, and we are really not in control of the future either.
We really do need to be mindful of the verse in Ecclesiastes that says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Eccl 3:11)