Time is a funny thing. We wish it went faster or we try to slow it down. We think we don’t have enough, or we want to have more. Very rarely am I experiencing time for what it is–a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
I sit down on my front porch and feel a cool breeze float across my skin. The birds sing their unique songs while my husband makes his way to the chair beside me. We have just put our kids down for their daily quiet time, and now we listen to the stillness.
Calm, restful, and meditative.
David breaks our silence…“What’s on your mind?”
This question is often complicated as my mind gathers, tosses, and spits out a lot of thoughts and emotions all at once. But I have only a single thought today.
“I had so many great friends and moments in my life that have ended before I was ready.”
He thinks about my response carefully replaying it back while trying to articulate what I may need from him at this moment. But first, he lets us sit with the thought.
I drift back to freshman year of college. I was exactly that–fresh! The whole world was at my fingertips. I had come in pretty broken but thankful for a new start. An idea of my future hadn’t yet formed, but I was open to trying new things. My independent core had now been given the freedom it always needed, and it felt good! Close friendships with students and staff developed over the next four years, and I discovered who I was for the first time! I finally had a clear picture of what I wanted to offer the world.
The next scene I picture is the summer I worked at a church camp. The staff was another family to me and became a light after the dark season prior. We engaged in crazy amounts of laughter and felt woven together with the bond we shared. Our hearts were so full we hardly noticed the sleep we lacked. Each day, responsibilities were assigned that humbled and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone. And that summer is what brought me face to face with a God I knew but hadn’t yet experienced.
My mind then travels across the world to Australia where I met some of my best friends. We navigated a new country with one another and made some of my most fond memories in my lifetime. Still students in college, we weren’t tied down to our jobs and were able to experience a new culture without responsibilities. A couple dozen or so people were all we knew out of the entire country. That alone unified a group of young people who may never have been friends otherwise. Now we can’t imagine our lives without each other. Still, we are all over the U.S. with only a once-a-year visit to carry us through til the next.
My soul aches for moments in my past like these. I often want to go back where those relationships were solid and I believed would always remain unchanged. But it’s not the same. It can’t be! We no longer walk through daily life together.
My husband interrupts ready to share his wisdom…
“Amanda, nothing ever stays.”
I think to myself, “That’s it? How insensitive!” But I lower my defenses and let him continue…
“Each chapter is important, but they never last long. That’s why it’s so important to be present and understand that nothing ever stays the same, and that’s okay. We can enjoy the moment while we have it.”
His words nurtured the part in my heart that was missing life-changing chapters. Friendships may not look the same, but they were there for a time I needed them. I may not be living in the outdoors at a campground, but that experience led me to truly know God in a way that impacted my life forever. And I may not be across the world with a new adventure every day, but the adventure continues once a year with friends who will last a lifetime.
The perspective of “nothing ever stays” has helped me sit back and enjoy each stage of life. Even the slow-moving, someone is always crying, and everything is sticky stage we’re in now! I was desperately holding onto the past in fear of loss, but now I look back fondly with anticipation for what’s to come. I’m creating new memories right now, and I am enjoying every second!
What has been difficult to let go in YOUR life? How can you move forward knowing nothing ever stays? Share some of your fondest memories!
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