I wrote this in 1998.
So, teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
My eight year old son and I were engaged in a serious game of checkers: best two out of three for the championship of the Galaxy. We were tied one game to one. Nathan had only a king
remaining. I had two. It was my move. The atmosphere was tense with the seriousness of the moment.
As soon as I slid my piece to its spot, Nathan's face lit up with excitement. “You're not watching, daddy," his eyes sparkled as he jumped
my piece...double jump.
The game was over. The Galactic championship had passed from my hands to his.
He thought I wasn't watching. Oh, but was I! And I still swell with the joy I had while watching my son bask in the glow of his victory. His victory was sweet. But my "loss" was sweeter.
My wife and I have three children, two of whom are teenagers. And how fleeting have been the years! But sometime during those years I discovered an absolutely vital lesson about the calendar. Its pages tear off one by one, completely unsympathetic to my schedule and without regard to what I do, or what I don't do.
I really can't pinpoint the day on which I awoke to this fact. But from that day forward I determined to "reform." I determined at that moment that I would be able to look back on the years I had with my family and to be able to delight in the memory of watching each of them grow...day by day.
And to that end I choose to live my life with the attitude that there is time enough to work overtime on the job - when the kids are grown. And there is time enough to watch the television - when the kids are grown. And there is time enough to do the hundreds of "little" things that demand my immediate attention - when the kids are grown. And yes, (dare I breathe it?) there's
even time enough to over-extend myself with church activities - when the kids are grown.
Have you also at times shot a woeful glance at the calendar? And have you also come to grips with the toll the years are taking on your own family relationships? Don't you too want to be able to enjoy your family while there is still time to do so?
It's not a very difficult thing to accomplish. We just have to learn to say "no" to those varied and (in light of the grand scheme of things) inconsequential demands we allow to be placed upon us.
I suppose it's really a matter of priorities. And I invite you to join me in rearranging those priorities. I invite you...oh, but wait a moment....
It seems we'll need to continue this at a later time. My son just asked me to play a game of Uno with him. After his upset victory at checkers, he probably thinks he can wrest the World Championship Uno title from me as well.
Pretty cocky, don't think?