Most of us don't know how to rest. We work hard, and we spend our down time playing hard. We relentlessly pursue happiness and pleasure instead of observing times of renewal.
Living harmoniously as a family is an ongoing, intentional journey. The beginning of that journey is marked by great anticipation and genuine excitement. A bride and groom have high hopes and great dreams as they start out life together. However, as in all journeys, unexpected challenges pop up, including the arrival of children, which requires the couple to cultivate valuable parenting skills—without a handbook! At each age, from preschool through elementary school, each child requires his or her parents to make adjustments along the way to keep the relationships harmonious. Just about the time parents get their arms around all of that, the teenage years arrive! This stretching and complicated time calls for even more adjustments and a greater willingness to change if the parents hope to sustain harmony in the home. Then, after all that adapting, a new set of challenges arrives—the children reach adulthood, with minds of their own. Can there still be mutual respect and meaningful relationships in the family? Can harmony continue between parents and their grown-up kids? Absolutely! The question is, how?
I'm still learning that there is no virtue in reading about Abraham's obedience. I must obey his God. There is no virtue in studying Jesus' words. I must put them into practice.
And when this stunningly gorgeous gal takes your arm and pulls you down the aisle, the minister talks but you don't hear him. You're too busy staring daggers at the boy you've been trying to keep on curfew for months.
Nostalgia. That abnormal yearning within us to step into the time tunnel and recover the irrecoverable. That wistful dream, that sentimental journey taken within the mind—always travelled alone and therefore seldom discussed.
Christmases of my childhood were marked by monumental events, few more exciting than the Sunday school program, which slammed the door on three months of school and opened another on two weeks of holidays.
Hopefully we leave the event with a renewed sense of wonder, overwhelmed by the magnificence of what unfolded in Bethlehem long ago. Imagine…
One Monday morning my wife left me. Packed up some earthly belongings, our only daughter, and a Visa card before heading west for a week, leaving Jeffrey, Stephen, and me to fend for ourselves.
While parents continue to love their children no matter what, they cannot escape those occasions when wills clash, rebellion reaches an impasse, and things get downright impossible. The result? Harsh words and ugly reactions as parents stand their ground and sons and daughters react in stubborn defiance, refusing to back down. This is one of those times when the fun stops for parents.
It sounds like a cliché, but the best is yet to come. The far side of 50 is a good place to be. Despite the losses, aging is not about losing.