Friday, March 29, 2013
Ever After Is a LONG Time...
James Hutchings is joining us today from Galesburg Illinois. He is the father of four boys and married to the love of his life or in other words, "the woman who tolerates him." He is a professor of Music but music isn't his life, family is his life. Here is what he has to say...
Ever after is a long time.
A really long time.
It’s longer than the last week of school, longer than your dentist appointment, longer than the Oscars. Yeah, that’s pretty long. In fact, it’s so long that it’s almost impossible to understand on a day to day basis because, as people, we are just too busy with today to worry about tomorrow, the next day or (gulp!) FOREVER. It might be hardest to remember when it comes to our families, you know, those people we spend the most time with every single day of our lives. It’s hard to think about ever after when we are organizing school lunches, dropping off children, planning for work, sanding down the wheels of pinewood derby cars, letting the dogs out, grocery shopping, serving in church and community, arranging play dates, teaching that poking your brother in the eye is wrong, and ignoring toddler tantrums despite the way they put you on edge like you are the one being poked in the eye. Then, when all that settles, you make lunch and start planning the afternoon.
Most days, these are the things that keep us from worrying too much about the ever after. I mean, who has time to reflect on fifty, sixty, seventy years or more when all of this is going on? Some days I believe it is this chaos that keeps us from just throwing our breakfast all over the dining room and screaming maniacally because THE PRESSURE OF FOREVER IS JUST TOO MUCH! In addition, I think that wearing ourselves out in good works, especially to our families, might be precisely the reason we are alive.
Every now and again, though, it’s important to stop and remember that today is just one day; this week is just one week; this month will be over when the next one starts. Earlier this week, a dear friend of mine confided to me that she had made decisions that had consequences she was not expecting—permanent consequences. She was scared, felt alone, ashamed and could not see how her life would ever be what she wanted it to be. Because the days were so dark, she could not enjoy that long-range perspective that most of us, in our busy lives, neglect to recognize or simply take for granted. All of us will have a time when a family member or other loved one (or two or three) comes to us and cannot see their way out of what seems an impenetrably dark day, week, month, or year. In these moments, we need not be casualties of war but warriors wounded in battle who will heal and rise stronger than before. The promise of ever after, especially with our families, is that while the battles may never stop, neither will the victories.
Ever After is a long time, and you know what? That’s a good thing.