Tomorrow, I will drive my parents to Arkansas. We will go to Wilmar/Monticello, the southeastern part of the state where my mother grew up. It has been years since I have been there. But I look forward to going. I have a lot of very good memories of going there as a child. In particular, I enjoyed being there on Christmas.
My grandparents lived in a white frame house on a two lane highway coming into Monticello. They had a garden, a barn, a shed--all sorts of places where a city boy could explore. I have wonderful memories of riding on the tractor with my grandpa. At other times, he would take us to the woods. He ran a lumber mill and seemed to know about every kind of tree. I remember cold Decembers, riding in his pickup truck. With the deaths of my grandparents, all of those memories seemed to come to an abrupt stop.
At the time, I did not realize that we were making important and significant memories. I did not realize that one day I would look back and wistfully long to experience these moments again. No--at the time I was just living.
Today, I suspect the same is happening. Today I will just be living. But--it could be that I will make some memories as well. It could be that some of this "ordinary living" will actually turn out to be very significant.
As I think about today, I don't want to be overly focused on the past or consumed by what will happen in my future life on this earth. I do want to be very present in ordinary life.
As I think about the last few weeks, they have been ordinary in many ways. That is, they are very similar to many other weeks:
- Time spent in conversations with people about their children, their aging parents, sicknesses, etc. I've talked in my office with a number of people. On the telephone with a concerned parent. A number of e-mails in which people expressed concerns and issues that were deeply personal
- Time spent being with Charlotte. Talking on the telephone with Christine, Phillip, and Jamie (my children and son-in-law). Being with special friends.
- Time spent mowing, weed-eating, dealing with loose insulation in the attic, and paying bills.
At the moment, I am sitting at my desk at home. I am looking at a small clock on my desk. The second hand sweeps around the face of the clock every 60 seconds. At some point, the clock in my life will come to a halt. Life on this earth will be over for me. I know--we all know this. Many of us just don't think about it very much.
How will I live in the meantime? How will I deal with the ordinary moments of life? Will I consciously live in the presence of God, even in the most mundane moments? Will I be open to however God wishes to redeem the ordinary moments of my life?
Just thinking about this today...