(Originally posted for Easter’s Blog in July of 2014)
Hairdressers hear all kinds of good stuff–I know I’ve been guilty of spilling some myself. The juicy, profound, and sometimes guarded parts have a way of spilling out. If I’m honest- it doesn’t take much for me. Snap on that nylon apron and spin my chair around-from there it’s a done deal. Thankfully, there are other places where equally authentic dialogue is shared. I’m grateful to be on the receiving end too.
I’ve been a dental hygienist for a dozen or so years now. There is so much about my job I enjoy. Without question the thing I enjoy the most is the unexpected way in which some people-well-spill it. I imagine in part it comes from a place of physical vulnerability -a blinding light, lying flat on your back, having to trust that I know just where all those sharp pointy thingies go. Some pretty awesome conversations arise. Some I’ll never forget.
One such story ~
He was comfortably in his eighties. His face was soft and his cheeks spidery red. His clothes were neat and worn thin from a decade or more of Tide. He inquired about my personal life-asking if I was married and if I had children. I told him that I was, that my kiddos were little and in charge (just three and six years of age at the time).
His smile widened in an instant, as if to imply that I was in the middle of something magical. He urged me to enjoy every second and to find a way to remember as much as possible. It seemed too many of his moments had escaped him.
I asked about his family. He said he had raised four children. He expressed how that period of time felt like three lifetimes ago. He said, “They are all grown of course, and have raised families of their own, some even have grandkids-if you can believe it.” Then, as if realizing it for the very first time he said, “Sometimes when I think back at that time of my life- it was so quick-so-fleeting I wonder if it ever really happened.” . . . and with his awareness, tears filled his eyes.
“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
James 4:14 (NKJV)
Ever since that touching conversation, each time the “they grow up so fast-like crazy fast” conversation arises, I think about him. I think of this sweet man with equal parts sadness and appreciation. My appreciation comes from him sharing something so intimate with me-in the hope that I might really get it. He hoped that I may fare better than he. My sadness is in that perhaps since the time his children were little, at least three lifetimes ago, he hadn’t experienced true joy.
So now that I’ve blinked for a moment in my own life-it seems that my babies, well . . . are no longer babies at all. My daughter enjoys lifting herself on her tippy toes, increasing her height advantage so that she can easily look down upon her mama. I’ve recently recognized that in a pinch I can wear my son’s shoes-a bit of an epiphany. Yep, it’s happening-my magic is moving forward at an alarming rate. James 4;14 says our life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
I’ve decided to handle this epiphany in a couple of different ways.
I’m going to dig deep-to engrain this time into my memory. Etch it in there . . . somehow.
Now this one’s a biggie-and probably most important.
God willing my vapor will be as long as a vapor can be, and throughout each life stage-
I will seek Joy.
For this and all things, I will call upon the Lord~
“Heavenly Father, Thank you for this crazy-beautiful life, help me find joy within each passing moment of my precious vapor. Help me to etch in the good stuff and to continue to seek you-always. Amen.”