At night I lay down with my five year old son and watch him go to sleep. For a time I did this only on occasion but later he ask for it every night. I began to think of this as an imposition because there were things that competed for my attention, not to mention the fact that I didn't really want to spend the time it took every night. It occurred to me however that there will come a time when he will be too old for this kind of a routine.
Also, it seems like last week that my little girl was in diapers. She's eight now and as such its been quite a while since I last changed one. This brings to mind that one day for both of my children I took a diaper off of them for the very last time and in so doing a door quietly closed to a part of their childhood; a childhood I'm already grieving over. The time will come when I will lay down with my son and we will look into each other's eyes as he drifts off to sleep; I will get up and go about my evening routine getting ready for bed, and never realize that that was the last time we will ever enjoy that particular routine. This reality really changes many "have to's" in family life to "get to's".
Life has a way of changing our outlook on things. I was driving into the Nashville airport one icy morning and a truck had slid on the ice and overturned right in front of the airport. There was a yellow sheet draped over the driver and I realized that his entire morning was a whole list of "last times" both for him and his family. What ever that family "had to" put up with before, I'd bet they would all love the opportunity to "get to" put up with it again one day.
We make a big deal about some last times such as the last time of being a certain age, or going to school, but I want to realize the small ones too, at least as much as a body can. In so doing I think that some of the mundaneness or unpleasantness of everyday life can more easily be embraced. So the next time one of your children spills his milk, or wakes you up afraid at three in the morning, or you are confronted with some other unpleasantness from a loved one, just remember that it might be the very last time it's ever going to happen. Listen for the door quietly closing and forever separating the way things were for you from the the way things are.
Majesty and Humility - David's Psalm 8 begins with the glorious, "O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens...