Sorry about the break in posting, I have been out of town and away from the computer -- which is not an entirely bad thing. But I have been thinking about this next post for a few days and finally found a moment to type it up.
The thing that's been on my mind just lately has been on the subject of almost. Two of our sons have birthdays this month and I started telling people they were "almost" the next age about six months ago. So then when the month arrived, I just started telling people they were that next age.
But a funny thing happens when I do that. When the birthday celebration comes, it's a little bit lackluster because in my mind, they've been almost this age for a long time ... now they actually are and so what?
I mean, it's not all boring and sad. We celebrate, we are happy. There's just no big, recognizable shift from one age to the next. The kid looks basically the same as he did the day before his birthday as does his behavior.
I find that almost creeps into everyday life all the time. It's almost dinnertime. It's almost time to leave. It's almost Friday. We are almost to our destination. It's almost date night. It's almost vacation! (I wish those last two crept in more often than they do, to tell the truth.)
The word 'almost' symbolizes anticipation. I love that feeling of anticipation and waiting for good stuff to happen. Like waiting for Christ's return! However, there are times when anticipation makes me forget to pay attention to the good stuff going on right now.
I watched my daughter, J, at the airport the other day. She was flying with me to visit family in another state and this was our first trip together without her dad or siblings. This was her first airplane flight since she was three and she barely remembered that one. She had been excited for a week or more leading up to the trip and now, sitting at the airport, watching planes take-off and land, she was waiting to see our plane pull up to the gate.
She kept watching the planes and asking me each time if the plane was ours and then she'd see where they parked and she'd know ... "Nope, not yet."
The funny thing was that she was having as much fun watching planes and pointing out their different color schemes and sizes as she was anticipating the arrival of our flight and our departure for our girls' vacation. She found joy in the moment. Sure, she was happy when our plane finally pulled up, but she was happy during the wait, too.
How many times have I been anticipating something excitedly, but while I wait, I'm brushing small moments of joy aside as if they are meaningless? I mean, when a family member is coming to visit, I'm so excited. I get into the routine of preparations and I get snappy and stressed and start ordering everyone around to make the house all ready. But in the meantime, I'm missing the fact that my kids are right there -- also happy and excited about coming guests and are even fairly willing to help me prepare the house.
I need to remember to stop and recognize those blessings in that moment. Retrospect is often too late. Better late than never! But by then, the kids have misbehaved in a dozen ways and I don't really feel like praising them about what they did the other day. So I need to catch them in that moment ... slow myself down ... praise, praise, praise. Them and the Lord!