Thursday, July 12, 2012

On the Passage of Time

I went out to dinner this evening with my parents and older sister to celebrate my Mom's 70th birthday. The last time the four of us did this (at the same restaurant, I might add!) was for my Mom's 60th birthday ten years ago. My father has passed those milestone birthdays as well, but his birthday celebrations tend to involve a few more people. My mother has never really been a party-type person.

We had a lovely time (as we did 10 years ago), but I couldn't help but reflect on the passage of time. A decade ago, I was pregnant with my younger son. He's now nearly 5 feet tall and closing in on 100 pounds! My sister (10 years older than I am) had teenagers. Now she is a grandmother. Her youngest child is turning 23 this week and getting married at the end of the month. She was close to 40 at that time. Now that milestone is looming heavily in my horizon, while she is pushing 50! (How is that even possible?) Time, too, has changed my parents. They are totally grey now and showing some definite signs of aging.

Perhaps what has changed most over the years, however, has been our relationship. My sister and I both had contentious relationships with our parents growing up, but we have all mellowed with time. Life has humbled us and softened our edges. We all have struggled and faced trials of various types. We all have had successes and regrets. At the end of the day, we are all travelers on the same journey - my parents are just a bit farther ahead on the road. We are all trying to figure life out and do the best we can as we go.

What troubles me, most, though, is thinking of the next 10 years. The past ten years went by so quickly and time is only speeding up. Chances are good that the four of us won't all still be here to go out to dinner in 2022. Longevity doesn't run in my family (3 out of 4 of my grandparents were dead by age 62). Both my mother and father have had siblings pass away.

Death isn't a taboo topic in my family. My parents have their burial plot and headstone in place (all that is missing is the final dates). I know what funeral home they want to go to. My mother even has burial outfits picked out for both of them (one for winter and one for summer). I know not the day or the hour, but I know that day is coming. I fear what their final illnesses might be, what God might have in store for all of us. I know I need to take one day at a time. What good will it do me to worry about it? And yet, I do. In the meantime, I try to appreciate the time I do have with them.

Jesus, I trust in you. Please help me to have courage when facing an uncertain future.


Karen Ford said...

My Dad's birthday was earlier this week, and I was sad that I couldn't share a dinner with him since he lives so far away. I have been thinking a lot of my family members in Ohio, wondering sometimes not when but if I will see them again. Your family seems to have a very healthy approach to death. I pray that, if it's God's will, that in 2022 you will share another supper with them, and that I'll get to read the reflection about your grown children!!

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

I know I have been fortunate to be so close to my family all these years. I hope you do get to go see your family!

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