Loose Ends. . . (September 11, 2019)
Dear VICC family,
Fall is settling in. For some of us this is a good thing. For some of us it’s a tragedy. As much as I love summer, and am always anxious for its arrival, I count myself in the former group. I love fall. And for our little family, the arrival of fall has meant the arrival of some huge milestones, the greatest of which is Ava starting kindergarten.
One thing fall also brings with it is the realization of all the little projects that didn’t get done. Our summer was consumed with my dad’s passing away and the aftermath thereof. And so, one more summer of not painting our house has come and gone. One more summer of not creating the back yard we wanted has come and gone. And on and on. Unfinished projects. Loose ends. They drive me crazy, but they are a part of life.
In the weeks after dad’s death this past summer, one of you asked me if I’d had the experience of wanting to call him up with a question only to realize I couldn’t. At the time, this hadn’t happened to me yet. But by now it has. Many times. My dad was a storyteller. In true, familial fashion, I was a poor listener. “Here comes another one of dad’s tales!” Now I think about all the history that passed away with him. The knowledge and the little details about his and mom’s lives. I know a lot of it, but sometimes wonder if I have the details right. Dad’s not around to ask. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
At home, in my study, are about twenty bookmarks. They are spread throughout my library, each one in a book. If I needed a bookmark right now, I’d have to steal one from myself. These bookmarks are a reminder to me that life is about process more than accomplishment. Of course, we get things done. Or we should. We set goals and hopefully achieve at least a few of them. But day-to-day life is more about existing than it is about getting things done. It’s about being. My wife laughs at me for jumping from book to book, but it’s just how my brain works. We will both be laying in bed reading when, all of a sudden, I will hop out of bed and walk down to my study at the other end of the hall. When I return to bed with a different book in hand, she just shakes her head. The way I look at it, I’m reading my library, not just this or that particular book.
Some of you are much more accomplished goal-setters than I am. Nobody wants to hire a contractor who builds houses the way I read books! But if being around life and death has taught me anything, it’s that you’ll never check every single little thing off the list. Interruptions will always happen. We know as little about tomorrow as we know about the far side of Jupiter. We do our best. We get things done. We love one another, often poorly. But there is always grace. And life keeps going. For those who die in Christ, life doesn’t even end at death. It just keeps going. Or maybe it starts over somehow.
My little girl, Ava, suspects that when we die and get to heaven, everybody becomes children again. She might not be wrong.
Your partner on the journey,