Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Time, Tide and Other Things That Do Not Start With "T"

Well I didn't fall into a well or get transported off the surface of the planet, I just haven't really decided what I want to post about on this space. Because my interests run to the diverse and eclectic it's difficult to decide so for now I'll settle on whatever is pushing my personal buttons.

Our middle son has left home to attend school on Saturday. With one already married and away and only one left here with us there is an overwhelming difference in the ambience of our home. When the kids arrived we though that with each new addition the resulting change would be proportional and gradual. But human beings affect so many dimensions we discovered that the effect of having two or even three children was exponential in nature. Dressing one child to go out in winter took 10 minutes. Getting three of them ready took an hour. One child can demand all of your attention, three need a small army to care for them.

Now that two are gone it's not just a little quieter on the home front; it's too darn quiet! The effect remains exponential in reverse and is evidenced by the effect on our ears, our refridgerator, our carpet and most especially our hearts. When our sons arrived our world expanded to fit them in. Three sons have taken us on light-years worth of journeys. Twenty-three years later as they go our world remains expanded and we can sense the void, hear the echoes and wander through the open landscape.

Someone once said you can't miss someone who was never there. So many people I meet are, I think, searching for God; missing Him because He is there yet somehow they have pushed Him just far enough away that they feel the void. They say things like, "I'm missing something in my life. I'm not sure what it is but I'm confident I'll know it when I find it." This convinces me that God never ignores anyone. The gulf, the void we all feel and seek to fill is carved out every day when we choose other things as more important than God, until we discover they really were never that important to begin with. I know that void feeling. I've been on my search, and in so many ways I still am. But God is always there, part of our lives, part of reality, part of what we take for granted.

There is a similarity here in the longing we feel as we miss our sons. We discover too late that there could have been time for one more bike ride, one more walk and talk, one more game of cribbage, one more campfire, one more hug. We find that the void is at least partly of our own making, carved out using the dull tools of poor choices and missed opportunities.

And yet, all is not lost. The future looms. Change happens. Time is inexorable, waiting for none of us; indifferent to our frenzied attempts to to catch up. And always remaining smugly silent as we spend it as if we had an unlimited supply. Now it seems I've heard the penny drop. Time to begin a new quest, I think. Perhaps I see it twinkling on the horizon of our lives, distant yet distinctly possible. Could it be.... grandchildren?!?

Lord give me fresh wind and the horizon!