Earlier this week I listened to my kids in the back of the car conversing about things to come in the months ahead… “I can’t wait until…”; “I’m not going to enjoy anything until…” and my mind started rolling backwards to moments that I had wished away from my life.
Have you ever anticipated and looked forward to something so much that you just couldn’t enjoy a single thing while waiting for it to happen? When I got married in 2006, I remember I was ready for my life to finally begin. I had finished graduate school, met the man of my dreams and was ready for the fairy tale part of my life to really start.
Now, I know my life didn’t really begin when I was 25 years old, walking down the aisle to marry Mr. Right. But every journey begins somewhere. Mine really began a long time ago as a big baby born in Maine. I was the daughter to military parents who had the privilege of living in Germany, Italy, and multiple states on the east coast during the first decade of my life. My journey continued through high school and college in North Carolina, on into graduate school.
But if I’m being completely honest, I lived all those years just waiting for my real life to start; the life you find in fairy tales and daydreams. I have always been a storyteller. I imagined being swept off my feet by the handsome stranger and riding off into the sunset where I would live in blissful happiness in a gorgeous well-kept mansion with all the children I could hope for (at the time it was 12, who magically appeared without doctors and fertility treatments assisting, cause who dreams that into their story?).
Of course for me, I learned at a young age that I didn’t get to write that part of the story as easily as I had dreamed that I would. I spent several years “searching” for Mr. Right before he found me (not surprisingly when I wasn’t looking or chasing after him). The next few years we tried to enjoy that blissful idea of life together while waiting for the “family” part of our journey to begin. That beautiful journey into parenthood finally began after several years of disappointment and loss.
And just when we thought things were looking up for us and all our dreams were coming true, we found deployment and brain cancer looming over the next horizon. Another baby was added and our dreams for a family that would keep growing were once again shattered amidst another devastating loss. And then cancer was back, and we were back to waiting for life after cancer to find us…
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that life after cancer to begin alone, a few years later, as a single mom of three. I longed to know when the new beginnings were to come and what journey would begin next. And once again, I find myself longing to write that story… because I want to control the timing and the outcome of where I go from here.
But if you hear anything from me in all of this writing… HEAR THIS… my writing will never be able to do that story justice. You see, every moment that I have spent longing for the days ahead and for the next right thing to roll into my life, is a moment that I have not spent appreciating the here and now. Matthew 6:31-34 says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV).
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7, NIV).
I won’t ever be able to write my own story as beautifully as He can… and neither can you. No matter how hard we try. But I am bound and determined to appreciate every moment of the here and now while I’m waiting for the next unbelievable thing he sends my way.
I am going to stop waiting for the life I’m longing for to truly begin. And I’m going to start living in the moments I’m in right now. And I’m going to make them count. And more importantly, I want my children to grow up thanking God for every moment… not just the ones to come.