It was the second time that day that Christian talked about what we might do "next time" we went kayaking on the river together, and both times it felt like a punch to the gut. In just a few days Christian and Dani would be leaving for Europe, and it was unclear to me when my son might be back in North Texas. Christian will be looking for a job while in Europe, and whether he is successful there or not there is a very real possibility that he will not be living under my roof again. Christian is grown up, and more than ready to begin his own journey in life.
I should probably be worried for the safety of Christian, Dani and Tommy as they travel together. But, selfishly, when I think of them my thoughts turn to the emptiness of the house and how little time I may have to spend with any of the kids in the future. Nine months ago the house was a constant circus -- filled with noise and endless activity. Now it is quiet and still.
For most of our adult lives we understand intellectually that few things in life (God, family and friends, perhaps) have any real meaning, but we do not live that way. We convince ourselves that we can slow down when we meet certain financial, career or other goals, but the finish line never comes -- or it comes far too late. We blink and realize that so much of life has passed us by. For those of us who love Jesus, we blink and realize there is so much more we could have done for the kingdom of God if only we had we had grasped the truth earlier in life.
When Christian and I set out on the Trinity for the first time I marveled at the fact that the river was less than ten minutes from our house, and yet for all these years I was all but unaware of it. Then, as we headed upstream my thoughts quickly turned to how much Jonathan would have loved kayaking on the river with us, and how our ignorance of the river had deprived us of some great times that could have been.
And so it is with life. The most important things are often hidden in plain view. We need only stop long enough to see them. Things like faith, hope, love and family.
The kids have dedicated their trip to Jonathan's memory. Since Jonathan could not be there physically, each of the kids is represented by a Lego figure. Jonathan is the one in white.
Tommy on the Trinity.