Seeing the Future

originally in Abilene Families

WANTED: One lazy, hazy, crazy day of summer. Just one. A day to ignore schedules and deadlines and carpools and packing lists and pick-up times and simply enjoy the season. Our family didn’t find too many of those this summer. Seems as my children get older the cool places to be and time in the car for mom increase exponentially each summer.

We tried to enjoy a few slower days, but we had to leave town to do it. That meant we were paying for it and under the added pressure to really enjoy it! Now the summer whirlwind is screeching to a stop just long enough to throw me onto the school whirlwind.

I look into those faces that house eyes that roll at the sound of my voice and know that this is not a forever state of being. This is a season of life that I should be soaking up and cherishing. And I will, as soon as I find my keys, sign this permission slip, and fire up the crock pot. Yes, I will cherish it to the fullest while I ferry someone to the next must-do outing.

In the midst of my mania, I have a standing lunch date with about a dozen people each Tuesday. My husband doesn’t mind. In fact, he joins me, then he and I have our own private lunch date -- saving the best for last, I suppose. Along with hundreds of other people in this area, we have a Meals on Wheels route. It’s not remarkable about us, but there is plenty remarkable about the people we are privileged to serve each week.

Just like any other random grouping of a dozen people, some are easier to talk to than others, some are more enjoyable than others, and they come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and colors.

After having the same route for almost a year, we have become familiar with most of our regulars, what they would like to talk about, and if they even want to talk at all. One particular woman, probably 30 to 40 years my senior, has been difficult to get to know, simply accepting what is offered with a quiet smile and closing the door. The large dog she keeps for company prohibits much more conversation. Sometimes she appears a little unkempt with hair askew and pajama bottoms on with a blouse.

Not long ago, in making the handoff both of our thumbs were on top of the tray of food simultaneously. I noticed that our thumbnails were filed exactly the same way. As she reached to close the door, I noticed that all of her nails were like mine -- long and without polish. I like to keep mine painted, but a manicure hasn’t exactly been at the top of the agenda lately.

That one simple commonality caused me to see this woman in an entirely new light. She is me. There was a moment in time when she was running children to lessons and practices, darting to the grocery store when she could get the chance, putting on a nice dress to go to a dinner for her husband’s work when it was expected, teaching Sunday school, and all those things that fill my days now.

Gradually, life happened. Time robbed her of her husband, and likely the ability to properly grip a hair brush, or the dexterity required to button or snap pants making pajama bottoms a logical choice. In that brief glimpse of a set of fingernails, I saw how easily my life could evolve into hers over the course of years.

As I turned my back to her house, my husband at my side, a list a mile long of things that needed to be done yesterday tapping its foot at me, kids waiting to be picked up or dropped off, I was reminded of the blessing that is this full season of my life. I don’t have to stop for long --thank goodness, since I don’t have time -- to be grateful for the healthy, active family I’ve been given and the myriad of activities that come with them.

All too soon the nest will be empty, the calendar will grow dusty, and the rest of my life may mirror what a glimpse of a hand showed me. The tray I handed her may have sustained her for the day. May the reminder sustain me for this season of life.


mindy said...

Love this!!


Sarah ... you are such a good writer. There are lots of bloggers out there (me included) but you and only a few others are writers.

I love the way you make everything so vividly clear.

BTW: Let's go running.

mstirman said...

Once again, you hit it out of the park! You captured the essence.

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