We’re back in Seattle after a week long vacation. It was a wild week of late nights and constant adventures and the warm memories are still churning in my mind. It was a great time together mainly just as our Party of 5. Restful? Not in the least. 5 people in one hotel room with a nearly 2 year old who loves a 5am dance party? Coupled with nightly adventures at Disneyland (going out for ice cream on Main Street at 10pm??? ) Hmm…not the perfect prescription for R and R. We got home Sunday and it was 11pm by the time we were carrying sleeping kids from the car to their beds. Yet it was one of the most fun weeks I’ve had in a very long time. Just being with my wife and my kids, turning off the email, and being present to the whims and fancies of the family.
On the plane home, the woman passenger sitting beside me turned and watched us interact with our children and issued the familiar statement: “Make sure and enjoy it because my kids are all gone from the house now and these years go by too fast.” Indeed they do…the years go by too fast. In fact one of the discoveries of the trip was that my 7year old was already leaving the magic and fantasy of Disneyland behind. Don’t get me wrong, she was still having a great time, but she was no longer transfixed and captivated by the magic of it all. She is growing up.
Back in Seattle yesterday the leaves of the deciduous trees around Greenlake were mesmerizing. The leaves are in their final stages of reds and yellows and oranges and caught by the reflection of the still waters of the lake, they were such a beautiful reminder of the passage of time. Time is passing. Everything is changing.
To be sure, for a young family like ours this is a season of busyness. Life is full of soccer and church and groups and events. But life is a great balancing act and instead of constantly lamenting the fullness of life or the “not restful vacation,” I’m choosing joy for this active time.
When I was a senior in college, I had a mentor and good friend who was a senior faculty member in his 60’s. We went for a beer one night after class and I was seeking wisdom from him about the choices that lay before me. I was agonizing whether to travel the country or work in ministry or move or stay. He turned to me passionately and said, “Scott, these are the years of freedom. Live deeply in them. You don’t need to have the next decade figured out. Just figure out the next step.” It was hard to articulate what those words meant for me because he had helped release me from my fear of the future and encouraged me to live presently to the life I was currently in.
The question always stands before us ready to be answered: “what season do we live in?” Is this a season to go and serve somewhere radical and wild? Or a season of staying here to serve locally and be an agent of change in our homes and to our neighbors? If we can’t answer the question of what season it is, perhaps we’re not using our gifts and living in our calling. The question of calling is something that deserves another blog post so I’ll leave it for now, but if we’re not living out of our call and engaged in our present situation, we will be horribly disappointed by our day to day lives.
I’m not sure where I’ll be in 10 years and definitely clueless where I’ll be in 20. But I know where I am today. In Seattle, serving the local church, desperately trying to make a difference. Being a father and husband. Taking it day by day.
For each of us, we’re only given moments which string together into hours and days. We can’t sculpt whole epochs or years with a stroke- we must take small steps of intentional living each day, with the view we currently have, to live the best life possible. Using our life and our gifts to impact our children, our friends and neighbors, and those we work with. To witness of God’s great love. To witness of God’s hope in the midst of a darkened world. Sucking the marrow out of life. To live a life of greatness that on most days looks quite ordinary. As Mr. Keating says in Dead Poet’s Society, “Make your life’s extraordinary boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
Even in the midst of ordinary times, look for ways to make it “extra”. Live deeply into your current season. That is my hope for today.