Monday, March 4, 2013

The End of All Things

I've been thinking a lot about seasons in life and the many transitions and changes that we go through.  There are a lot of things that have caused this, not the least of which is my father's failing health.  But it also includes things like buying our first minivan and today's joyful disposal of our highchair.

This highchair has made it through 3 kids.  I honestly can't remember when the first 2 transitioned out of the highchair, but it feels a little early to me with the third child.  Could be that I'm just having a hard time parting company with something that has been in our house for more than 6 years.  My wife, on the other hand, has wanted to pitch the thing since she started having to clean it all those years ago.  In her case, parting is sweet, but not sorrow.

This month, my baby will be 18 months old.  I won't say that time has flown because the last 18 months have hardly seemed to have flown by, but I'm not quite sure that it feels like that much time has passed either.  It is amazing what happens with a third child, somehow or another, it seems like certain milestones that seemed so important for the first one, or even two, get lost the third time around.  I can't even imagine having 6 kids.

But that's not the only parting this week.  We're going to be getting rid of one of our cars.  Now, in my nearly 40 years of life, I've gotten rid of a number of cars and they all had their fair share of memories, but none has felt like this.  I do remember coming home from college during my freshman year to find that my parents had gotten rid of my car without telling me about it.  I felt a bit betrayed.  I guess I had hoped that I could have had one last moment alone with the "old gal" to say my good-byes.  But alas, that never happened.

Nope, this car has been with us for just a little bit longer than my oldest son.  It's the first car we had as a family.  It made a number of trips back and forth from Asheville, North Carolina to Connecticut.  I remember the day we bought it and my parents giving us a little extra to put into the down payment.  It was the newest car that I had ever bought or owned.

Six years later, somehow or another, my wife has figured out a way to fit 3 carseats in the back without anyone's safety being jeopardized.  We've driven lots and lots of miles in the car, probably pushing 100,000 in those 6 years.  It's served us well and I will hate to see it go, it feels like saying good-bye to family.

The fact of the matter is that every good thing seems to come to an end.  We all experience change and transition in life.  As much as we would like to hold on to the old things, new things come and take their place.  Sometimes the old was much better, other times, the new far exceeds the old, either way, I don't know many people who have been able to seamlessly transition away from everything.  We are all creatures of habit and those habits die hard.

There's not a whole lot in this life that lasts or that remains unchanged.  From a theology perspective, we call God immutable, which means "unchanging."  So far, that's about the only constant I've been able to find, the only thing that remains the same despite all of the other changes and transitions that take place in life.  People come and go.  Cars die and are replaced.  Houses are sold and bought and sold.  In the midst of all of that, I have found God to be the one constant, unchanging stabilizer.

I know that we will all face change and transition.  We will all have to part with something in life, what will we have to hold onto when those things are gone?  What are we relying on for stability.

I'm reminded of 1 Peter 4:7-11, "The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

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