That’s the way it goes; feels like a dream, sounds like a distance noise, looks like something from the pages of a book, but this time it’s real and it’s happening to you.
It’s happening so fast, too fast that you begin to wonder, wonder if it’s true.
So you look in the mirror for reassurance, it’s then that you get a wake-up call;
The baby girl is no more.
Sitting still on the wrought iron bench in the main lounge of the local airport, waiting for the announcement over the speakers. Lost in the sea of faces amidst the multitude, each drawn to their line of assignment; the business man desperately trying to catch that connecting flight, the mother of two toddlers struggling with a lot of luggage, the overzealous porter trying to make a living from pushing carts, and all of the other motioning movement that basically characterizes the stage in life called “grown up.” Wow, when did that happen? My mind drifted off into the land of thoughts.
The other night a man came back from a trip only to discover he had a new addition to the family - an insatiable little girl who wouldn’t quiet down, even after a lovely meal. Oh what a sight she was, lovely brown eyes, rosy cheeks and an almost bald head.
Before I could come to terms with this beauty, a little girl emerged from behind the sofa. She smiled at me and beckoned to me to join her behind the sofa. There she built a make-believe world - she was a princess waiting for her prince to rescue her from the fiery dragon. I joined in the game and played the part of the prince. Oh, we had such a great time until someone called me from the room upstairs.
I ran up the stairs thinking it must be an emergency to have been called with such force and audacity. I was almost knocked off my feet from the blast of the music that hit me as I entered the room. A teenage girl was bringing the house down with her brand new HF audio player. I could hardly decipher what was playing - too much clashing loud brass. She was, no question, having a swell time. Who wouldn’t? She jumped up and down on the bed. She turned and stomped around the room, her hair flying crazily around. I was afraid the roof would either come down on us or the foundation below would give way, but neither happened, because before I could decide on what to do, a car drove into the garage.
I thought help had arrived; her mum or at least an older person must have come to rescue the roof. I ran down the stairs to meet the woman of the house and ran straight into a younger woman. She was too young to be her mum, so I assumed she must be her sister. Before I could explain, she launched out a long list of accusations. “You missed my graduation. How could you?” My mind reeled and I wondered if I had heard about the occasion. The young lady ran up to her room and slammed the door. I tried to apologize through the keyhole, although I was almost certain I had no idea what she was talking about. She raved on and on until I eventually had to leave.
I retired to the kitchen to get a drink and met a lovely young woman at the table. She grinned from ear to ear and I wondered why. She finally blurted out “I’m getting married.” I didn’t know if I should be happy or sad. I hardly even knew the young woman. I smiled, trying to appear happy. Just when I was about to speak, something crashed in the living room.
I ran out to see a little baby trying to stand, holding on to the edge of the table and pulling down a host of special chinaware. I ran to pick up the baby before she could pull down more. Just then a voice sounded behind me. “Nice mum, I see you won’t have any problem with your granddaughter. David and I will be out for the night. See you later.” Before I could turn around, the voice was gone.
I turned around and found myself in a solemn assembly - people gathered to celebrate the death of a dear friend. From the expressions on their faces I could tell she must have been special. “A daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend - she was to all”; everyone seemed to nod in agreement as the minister spoke. “She lived well.” He continued his eulogy, “Her heart was always with the less privileged amongst us. She dedicated her time to serving others but most importantly she loved God. And her devotion and dedication have taught us all a great lesson - to be a lifetime minister. She wanted everyone to live each day, and every moment to the glory of God, for we are living monuments of God’s glory on earth.”
I was moved to tears by the legacy this great woman had left behind. In spite of the vast wealth she had, the only thing spoken about her was her devotion to God. I decided it was time I left this rather personal occasion, but just before I left, I wanted to know who this great woman was and her connection to all the younger women I had been running into in the last few minutes.
As I stared down at the face of the departed woman, suddenly it hit me - the familiarity between her face and the faces of the other women I had met in the last few minutes. I kept looking at her, and their faces began to piece together in my mind like they were one and the same. Just when I thought I could make the connection, a face flashed through my mind: one that was much like hers. The resemblance was striking; I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it earlier. How could I not have seen, why hadn’t I just spotted the similarity sooner? The woman looked like someone I was familiar with. I turned and like a mirror, I saw myself in the woman. This was my life played before me. I wondered, because none of the situations looked like my life. At least not up to this point. I realized I didn’t have a choice how my past played out to some extent, but I had great control over my future.
I decided then that I would live my life to the fullest and maximize every moment that God gives. I decided to redo my priority list - God first, family next, purpose third. I wiped a lone tear off my face when realized I was seated at the airport again. The announcement finally came, my flight was boarding. I picked up my small overnight bag and proceeded to board a different woman.
Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, "Life is not pleasant anymore." Eccelesiates 12:1 (NLT)