Stop Waiting on the Next Round of Normal

Tonight at Evening Prayer before the worship began folks were milling around and catching up with each other.  I love that part.  As I looked around the room, a beautiful young mother caught my eye.  She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her.  She reminded me of a young woman who came several months ago, who was pregnant and due any day.  But this woman could not be her–her little one was toddling all over the place.  Someone said the baby was fifteen months old.  Well, there you go, it couldn’t be the same person.  But still…..

I walked over to say hello and she rose from her seat with a smile so wide and genuine, my heart recognized her before I fully did.  It was the same woman.  Mind blown.  I had only met her once, and we had sat together during Evening Prayer one evening.  It HAD been fifteen months ago, yet my memory of her was so vivid, so clear–it seemed like there was no way it had been that long.

I am so thankful I was able to visit with her, albeit briefly, tonight.  Such a sweet soul.  Our seeing each other again reminded me of something that no matter how reminders I get, I seem to forget.

Time is fickle.  And deceptive.

It can seem like no time at all has passed and before you know it, the minutes turn into hours turn into weeks, then months, then years.  I know it’s been talked about way too much, and it’s very cliché, but time goes all too quickly.

I was just surprised that’s all.  I’ve been kidding myself into thinking I was trying to savor every moment.  Grief and the deaths of those you love can do that to you.  Makes you focus a little differently.  Makes you want to make sure nothing is taken for granted.  But eventually time starts slipping and the next thing you know it’s fifteen months later and you don’t know where it all went.  Way.  Too.  Fast.

Time by Cindy Cheney
Time by Cindy Cheney

Here’s the thing.  I’m always thinking about what I will do when “things settle down” or “get back to normal,” and I have put things on my to-do list to handle as time allows.  Fact: It’s not going to happen.  I have got to rearrange my priorities before time and the living of life take away opportunities I thought I would always have.  People get sick and may not be around forever, sisters move away, friends get full-time jobs and can’t get together anymore.  Assuming folks will be around for the next round of normal, whenever, whatever, often leads to heartbreak and regrets because it isn’t guaranteed.

A wise and fabulous friend of mine called and talked and listened, and we had the best visit on Friday.  She said that she felt I needed to do some “culling.”  Well, I look around this house, and I know it’s true (except for the books and the yarn stash–call me out on those and I will disown you).  But she interrupted me, “No, I don’t mean things.  I mean your time.  How busy you are.  You need to cull some of your activities, don’tcha think?”

It’s been on my mind all weekend, that maybe yes, I might need to do just that.  But tonight.  Realizing how fast time flies…..and seriously it does.  Fifteen months–poof–just gone.  I believe I need to cut back on some things so that I can take time for other things I’ve been putting off, thinking they could be done whenever.  It’s just not guaranteed, is it?

Tonight I give thanks for beautiful smiles that warm a heart, for fifteen month olds toddling around a worship service making everyone smile, for family that I can reach out and hug less than a half hour drive away, and for a wise friend who opened my eyes and said what my heart (and my body, let’s be honest) has been trying to tell me for quite a while.  And if you need to cull to make time for folks you love, come on, let’s do it together.  I don’t think we’ll regret it, do you?

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