There is an old saying that I have heard in many places over the last dozen or so years. It goes something like this: "Some songs may only be learned in the valley." I often wondered about the truth of that statement when I heard it in the past--not whether or not it was true but to what degree. I reflected on that this morning as I was thinking about what the last 3+ years has taught me. My life has given me much to think about and to reflect upon. I am a more compassionate man (some would question that) because of what I have experienced. I have a better understanding of what others go through. Where once I said, "I understand" now I can really understand. I treasure things a little bit more and care a little bit less about what others think. I understand, more than ever, what it means to live for the Audience of One.
I guess the area this has affected me the most is in my worship. I think it kind of falls back to the area of appreciating even the smallest of things with a greater admiration. Life is no longer taken for granted. Those chances I have to watch my kids play or to hug their neck are observed with a greater intensity. I worship God for the next sunrise I see and praise him for every new friendship I make. Worship is less about the hour I spend with my church family on Sunday mornings and more about loving God for the 24/7 presence He has given to me. I love laying in the bed on rainy mornings with my kids. I love walking to the ballfield to play ball with my son. I drink in every giggle that comes from my little girls "ticklefests."
As I get older (yes, I have resigned myself to the fact that I can't be 18 forever), the days become more like minutes as they rumble past. I get frustrated because I can't capture every moment. Heck, I have problems remembering people's names now. But I want so desperately to love deeper, remember more, experience it all. And sometimes, I catch myself doing things just so I can complete the things that my son never got to start. I think of what my wife would be doing if she were here. Maybe that's part of the urgency I feel some times; it's why I complain about wasting time on insignificant things. I feel as if I am trying to live 3 lives nows--mine and the two that are left unfinished. I guess it also leads to those days when I become overwhelmed by what I can't and shouldn't do. I am learning to be more content with what I can. Learning to enjoy what is mine to enjoy. Praying that God will give me a longer life to have tasted the things that are still left untouched.