Yesterday at church I got to hug a pregnant mom who is about to have her first baby. She told me that she is physically ready to have the baby but that she has emotionally been very sad about the season of life called “married with no children” coming to an end.
I can relate. Tim and I were married for 10 years before Russell was born. I remember being 8 months pregnant and so positively eager to meet our little sprout but simultaneously being so unmistakably sad to say goodbye to that decade of just Tim and me. I was grieving the end of an era that would never come again. I was mourning the loss of a stage of life that only comes once. I was saying goodbye to a part of my life that had been full of sweetness and difficulty and change and growth. Saying goodbye felt so very sad.
Now we are in this new stage called “raising young children,” and I’m sure when Russell goes to kindergarten, I will grieve the loss of this stage too. Then, all too soon, I’m told, Russell will graduate from high school and go off into the world, which is both a loss and a joy I cannot even imagine right now.
Talking with my pregnant friend got me thinking about how completely not in-the-moment I tend to live. I’m almost always thinking about what is gone or what is next, imagining the future, thinking about tonight, or tomorrow, or next week ,or next year, or in the case of Russell’s graduation, 16 years from now!
Recently, Tim’s mom came and stayed with us for 2 weeks, and she kept singing a song to Russell, called “Jesus’ love is sweet.” We’ve kept singing it since she left, and I’ve been making it my practice to use that little jingle as a cue to myself to pause and be in the moment. I am using that little song, which we sing countless times each day, to slow myself, to center myself, to breathe in deeply the presence and love of God and the sweetness of this season, even if there are fish crackers all over the car and smushed bananas on my new couch.
My cue goes like this, “Jesus’ love is sweet and wonderful, O,O, wonderful love. Higher then the mountains, deeper than the ocean, wider then the universe, O, O, wonderful love.” Maybe you can find a cue that’s helpful to you when you find yourself pulled into the past or catapulted into the future. Whatever life stage you find yourself in, whether good or bad, heartbreaking or exhilarating, you can be sure that it will not last. So, be present to it, knowing that our Lord holds our past, present, and future securely, and His love endures forever. O, O wonderful love!