I have thought on this quote a number of times over the last few months. It has rattled around in my head and my life quite a bit because I feel that I am experiencing the years, the time, that Erma Bombeck was looking back on. My marriage is fairly young (10 years) and my kids are all under the age of 10. I am in the days that I will reminisce over with my wife when we are older. There is such a temptation to always be looking forward to the next stage of life. When I was a kid I couldn't wait until highschool, when I was in highschool I couldn't wait until college, when I was in college I couldn't wait until I was married... and so on and so forth. I don't think that I am alone in this way of thinking. But this quote just won't let me off the hook.
Jesus is saying something so significant to those of us who will listen. He is saying that he came to offer us something that will help us to do exactly what Erma Bombeck is desiring: a life where we don't miss the things that we care about most. As I talk with people who are farther down the road than I am in life, I see a reoccurring pattern: job, money, status, popularity etc. fade with time. There are some that I have spoken with that would trade all that they have now for just 10 more minutes with their young kids, just one more conversation with a departed spouse or an old friend.
When I first shared this quote with a few friends everyone really liked it. We all shared about how true it was and spoke about a lot of things that should change in the world we live in and in our lives. The question I am asking myself is, "If I agree that this is a warning and a lesson from the future, am I willing to change anything now?"
So, I have tried to spend less time caught in the web of the urgent demands of my day. I have spent more time reading with my kids and getting caught up in the wonder that they have about the world. I have tried to look my wife in the eye and enjoy her presence in my life. And I have tried to let Jesus lead me to the real life in the here and now. I know that I will look back with some regret, that is just the human experience, but I want to look back with joy and thanksgiving as much as possible for the moments that I had here in this time and in this place.