Dad, time moves faster than you could ever imagine. Don’t take it for granted. This long path you consider to be endless will be gone in the flash of an eye. – Braden
I’m torn between thanking God for hurrying time forward to get beyond the past and then praying time will slow for a chance to enjoy the moment. – Braden’s Dad
Happy New Year! Merry Christmas! Happy Holiday!
Though we wish these sentiments were always heartfelt (and sometimes they are), speaking for myself, too often they’re just another seasonal greeting with a shallowness that seems to grow a little more hollow every year. Especially, this past year.
Our family of three loves tradition and routine. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are biggies. Sadly, against all odds and certainly against our wishes, Christmas and New Years Eve tanked this year. We aren’t flu shot people but that might very well change. We were hit hard. Influenza basically killed our holidays more assuredly than a Dollar Store bug zapper.
On New Years eve, after remaining determined to stay up until New Orleans celebrated in the Central time zone, I had some time to think over the past year and what it meant to turn a page into a new decade.
Historically speaking, decades have been chapters with clearly delineated bookends. One hundred years is nothing on the scale of our world’s existence. Just that many years ago this month, we were entering the “Roaring” Twenties. The days of Dillinger, Al Capone, and “Flappers”. Prohibition. Available indoor plumbing, electricity, and private ownership of cars were all just beginning. That’s hard to fathom, only ten decades ago!
Only ninety years ago we had the Great Depression and World War I. A brief eighty years, World War II. Seventy years ago, our country was entering the Korean conflict/ Buddy Holly, Elvis, and Rock-N-Roll (now, that’ll make you feel old).
Sixty brief years ago we entered the Vietnam War with three assassinations that rocked our world. Fifty years ago, Watergate and wars were looped on the news in living rooms and the dissolution of the American dream was in full bloom.
Only thirty to forty years ago, the Reagan Era and Middle Eastern conflicts and the fall of the Berlin Wall were the news. Whew! Time moves like lightening and it seems decades now run together more than in the past. They’re not as distinctly identifiable as they once were. Maybe that’s just me. It does leave me wondering what will this next decade bring. Will it be the roaring 20’s again or something else. We’ll see.
New Year’s Eve 2020! That’s crazy. In my youth, I recall thinking ahead to that strange year, 2000. What a foreign idea, a century called “The 2000’s”. Everything after 1999 had to be like science fiction. Hover cars. Futuristic communities. Clothing would have to be so different, after all it would be “THE YEAR 2000”.
I recall as a child thinking as we approached the new millennium, things would either be much better or far worse. Technology would bring forth new frontiers no one had even fathomed, but what if the predicted benefits of science had a reverse effect? For example, who’d have guessed a device no larger than a human hand would bring such change to the fiber of our society.
Yes, and who can forget doomsday predictions of the year 2000. In the Eighties, college professors and tech experts were saying the first second of 2000 would generate a global shutdown since the infrastructure of computers was built on a date system of two digits from a 00-99 framework. Anything after the last day of 1999 would not be recognized and would throw financial systems and the power grid into chaos.
Of course informed people “knew” this was not true, yet the computer didn’t exist at the prior turn of the 20th century… there was no precedence to rely upon. . . electrical grids were non-existent on December 31, 1899. These intelligent and informed people wanted to trust that the world would not go dark as their digital clocks ticked away on December 31, 1999.
I initially thought everyone was acting foolishly and perhaps had lost their minds. Then we got pregnant with projected delivery of our first baby in May 2000 and my world view completely shifted. What If something did happen and I’d not prepared my family? What kind of father doesn’t prepare for the cataclysm of doomsday? (If you’ve ever been a brand new parent, you get it).
As New Years’ Eve approached, Cathy and I joined friends in Kingwood, Texas for the celebration. As midnight neared, everyone was trying to put on a brave face but all knew inside we weren’t sure what to expect. After all, this was one of only a few times when mankind thought we were prepared, but no one was fully certain.
As we traditionally did, we all circled together to pray for the coming new year. Everyone was in that moment where no one would admit it but we were each a little terrified the end of the world may be coming. Still, our rational sides would not allow such nonsense. We closed our eyes, clasped hands, and waited…
Although I want to say the lights may have flickered, that was likely only my imagination. That, or my friend Mike, who always can be counted on for a prank, clicked the lights. In either instance, the fear and danger we all felt seconds earlier vanished instantly. One single second past 11:59PM the lights were on, the TV was still showing the New York Time Square celebration and all was well with the world. Well, maybe not so much, but we had survived.
Between that midnight in 2000 until October 30, 2018 will forever run as a long, yet too brief chapter in our family’s life. A series of endless family videos and pictures running together. It was almost two decades, but these images are framed as the 18 years we had our son with us.
Similar to the night we all wondered what would happen when the clock clicked midnight, I still wonder what will happen next, following our 18 year “decade”. with Braden now gone. I expect we’ll all try to act as if it will be ok, and that our world will remain normal. We’ll dread the dark times and pray things will not fall into chaos, but it’s largely a practice in futility. Yes, fewer days are filled with tears now, but they’re always one single blink away.
A song, a smell, a picture, or video. A memory is all it takes to flood our minds and hearts. Looking back, I don’t know how we could still be standing but for the assurance the Holy Spirit provides. I thank God for the time we had and for the memories we made. I pray He will continue to sustain us and help navigate into tomorrow.
Human nature makes most of us easy targets for the lies Satan tells us. I fall prey far too often. He wants us to fear and dread the days ahead. This serves his kingdom well, as it distracts away from God’s promises.
A life filled with doubt and worry is one where God is trying to get in but the door is nailed shut. Remember, God wants nothing but good for His children. Anything you’re hearing to the contrary is coming from the enemy.
Let’s remember to teach our children about Satan’s lies and God’s truths. We might make their tomorrows even brighter than we could ever imagine.