NORMAN — Our family is celebrating two significant milestones this week. For the first time in 13 years, we will not have a child in elementary school.
In addition, for the first time we have a child enrolled in college. As every parent knows, these milestones are important and necessary markers that represent the movement of families from generation to generation.
Tears of joy and sadness mingle together as our emotions compete with and contradict each other. We are filled with love and joy in blessing our daughter to move away from home to study and prepare for the life God is calling her to. Yet, we grieve amidst the changes this new season brings to our family.
In the quiet, reflective moments of the past days, I have been reminded of James 4:14: “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
On the morning we took our daughter to college, my wife wondered out loud, “Where have all the years gone?” This was not a question of regret but rather acknowledging the preciousness of life and the speed with which the years pass.
Days that felt like years when our children were cutting teeth, learning to walk, memorizing their multiplication tables and being driven to practice are compressed, remembered only as a snapshot in time. The years fly so quickly — like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Through the years, we enjoyed our “father-daughter” conversations, but I catch myself pondering if I have forgotten to say something. The thoughts and conversations in my heart and mind sometimes don’t make it to my mouth. I am left wondering when those conversations will take place and if the “right time” will come. After all, the years are so “vapor-like.”
What about you? Are the words of blessing in your mind and emotions of love in your heart finding a hard time in being expressed? In waiting for the “right time,” have you failed to find any time?
Some of life’s greatest regrets come when we fail to share these thoughts and emotions. Remember, there will come a day when it is too late to share — life is like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes way.
No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Children move away. Parents pass away. What words of blessing and encouragement do you need to share today? Someone needs to hear from you. The vapor is fading ... don’t let it vanish before you act.
As for my family, we begin middle school with our youngest and start another year of high school with our twins. Their “vapor” is visible in our home, yet we realize how quickly it will vanish and how precious these years of growing up are. There is still much to learn and say.
But today, I have a letter to write — a letter of blessing to express those thoughts and emotions that just never found the “right time” to be spoken. See you at the post office.