Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments! (Psalm 103-15-18)
Saturday was an odd day; it was mixed with bittersweetness, the sadness that comes with feeling powerless, the joyous anticipation of celebration, reminders of days past, and the fragility of life. It was all experienced over the course of 10 hours. I think the phrase “life soup” might apply.
Late morning: I received a text response from our college freshman granddaughter who moved into her dorm room on Friday after commuting for the first semester. A moment after texting me, she FaceTimed® my wife. Of course, I invaded that call and hung-out for a few moments while she gave us the virtual tour of her room. I tend to remember details about the lives of my children and grandchildren and was feeling a little emotional as I recalled holding her just a few days after she was born, playing in the pool with her at age three, and her falling asleep on my chest while at a large family gathering when she was five or six. I don’t think I missed very many of her dance recitals and plays from early childhood all through high school. In the scheme of things, it may not be the biggest of issues, but I really love my family and watching the little ones grow-up to be not so little pulls on my heart strings.
Early afternoon: I placed a call to a nonagenarian (age 90 to 99) I know who lives on the grounds of a nearby retirement/nursing home community. A long-retired attorney, he is a widower who sold his home and purchased a unit in this community in the Fall of 2019. He still lives independently, only requiring minor assistance from time to time. In a different environment, this might be ideal for him, but because of the Covid restrictions imposed by his community, he’s been in virtual isolation for most of the last 10 months because there are strict limitations on visits to his unit, including visits by his adult children, none of whom live nearby. He’s able to get out to tend to personal business needs, but because of his age, he’s very limited in how much he can do and how far he can go. He complained to me of being very lonely and frustrated. He thinks he made the wrong decision to purchase there and is considering selling his unit and leaving altogether.
Mid-afternoon: This was the celebration time as it involved cake testing as a part of my baby girl’s wedding preparations and my wife and I spending time with her, her fiancé and his parents (all with appropriate distancing and mask wearing). That was a little odd, but we all do what we have to do to make things work. It turned out to be a nice time, and I really wasn’t ready to leave but had to because of what was coming up next.
Early evening: Participated on a Zoom® call with a group of elementary and high school classmates. I saw some of these folks a year and a half ago at our high school class’s 50th reunion, but there were some on the call who didn’t attend the reunion. We’re all in that 70ish age area. Grey heads and grey beards were in abundance (for those who still have hair). I was late signing on so it was a small blessing to hear several call my name out when they saw my screen and asking me questions, all at once. I’ve known some of them since kindergarten, and have some fond memories of those days, the schools we attended, the teachers we had, and the stories of the days of our younger selves.
Around 8:00pm: I received word that a college classmate had a stroke within the last few days and was in a rehabilitation center/nursing home. It’s been many years since I last saw him, but we had a connection in that he introduced me to my wife. This former college and semi-professional basketball player/athlete experienced some hard knocks in his later life and was living hard. I wasn’t terribly surprised to hear the news of his illness given some of the choices he had made, but I was sad, nonetheless. Based on what I heard, he has to relearn how to use his legs to walk. I’d love to go visit him but can’t because of Covid restrictions. I’m sure he could use some encouragement.
In combination, all of this reminded me that human life really is like a vapor. It can be so full of wonder, gladness, and joy one moment and a short time later, it’s something vastly different. We can and should enjoy life while we’re able, and there is often plenty to enjoy. Still, there is no surety in it. Sooner or later, we all have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It’s for that reason, I place my hope and my trust in GOD; the Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2021. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.