15 My times are in Your hand…. ~Psalm 31:15a (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
I started teaching school 30 years ago, in the autumn of 1989. I remember at the time telling my father what a great opportunity it was; I would be eligible to draw a State of Mississippi pension after only 25 years. I was taken aback a bit by his reply, “Son, those years are going to go by really, really fast. Make sure to to enjoy them.”
Oh, dear reader, if I could only impress upon you the absolute truthfulness of my late father’s words! At the time he said them, I was a first-year schoolteacher, about to begin the years of raising two young sons. After what seems like the blink of an eye, I am now a retired schoolteacher with two grandchildren. Really, there’s nothing more amazing to me than the rapidity of the passing of time.
This week, I’ve had two things happen that have slapped me in the face. Eighteen years ago, Gwen Rockwood and I were at Grandma Louie’s house in Ethel, Arkansas, getting ready to attend the saddest of funerals. Gwen asked me to take a walk with her—away from her parents—so we could talk. She told me she and her husband were expecting a baby, a child that they desperately wanted. But she had not yet told her mother and father because she was spotting—and the doctors feared she would not be able to carry the baby to term. We prayed that the Lord would bless this child and allow him to safely enter the world. The Lord answered our prayers. And, flash forward—Adam Gregory Rockwood sent me proofs of his high school graduation photos yesterday. Where does the time go?
Likewise, I’m writing quickly this week because Susan and I are getting ready to leave for a trip. We’re traveling back to Stuttgart for a high school reunion—my fortieth one! I don’t see how it’s possible that two-score years have passed. In so many ways, I’m very much the same person inside my heart that I was back then. Again, I’m floored. Where does the time go?
When I was younger, thinking of the passing of time made me feel unbearably sad. But I don’t feel that way anymore. I think it has something to do with embracing the words of the great philosopher, James Taylor: “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time….” You can’t be alive without things changing. Like my dad said, the most important thing is to enjoy our blessings as we go along.
I used to worry, too, that I was wasn’t “enjoying” life enough as I went along. (I guess I’m just sort of a professional sufferer.) But I don’t worry about that anymore either. We are having a grand time as we go along. We’re just not overthinking it.
But I think the thing that helps my perspective the most is my Christian faith. For those who know the Saviour, life and love are eternal. What’s not to love about things that are everlasting? 😊
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 34 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the preacher and his wife are more comfortable in their own skin than they were 40 years ago.) You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.