I just turned 58 years old, and I’m okay with that. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, and if we are honest we all have. I want to share a thought with you that may help you from making this same mistake that I did 30 years ago. Even if you have grandchildren there may be a "take away" for you.
Monday I worked a trade show all day. Even before the show started, I did a lighting class for the Professional Photographers of Ohio. It’s called a “Photo Safari” but its really not a safari. The concept was walking around and sharing how to look for light and then how to make it work for you. We had a great time and got some nice portraits. This isn’t about that at all, its about what happened after I drove the nearly two hours to our daughter’s home.
It was a beautiful fall day, temperature was in the upper 60’s and bright sun. As I parked in the driveway I noticed the back yard needed raked. Scott is so busy at work and church, he hasn’t been able to keep up with it, so I decided to knock some of it out. It would be great exercise and I could enjoy the Ohio fall afternoon.
I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it but someone in the house noticed I was out there and decided to send the kids out so they could play in the leaves. There were lots of leaves to rake and I just wanted to get this job done. As soon as they came running out, giggling and laughing, the “work” part was officially over. They just wanted to do what all 3 and 5 year olds would in that situation, run and jump in the leaves. In past years, that would have been a source of great aggravation. It would be interfering with my plans of knocking this out. Something happened that was not my idea at all. We are told that the Lord speaks to us in a still small voice, and He did right then. 30 years earlier, our own children were that same age and I was their dad's age. We lived in Ohio and raking leaves was a part of life several days a week for longer than I cared. The last thing I wanted was anyone jumping in my piles and making more work. This time was different, it didn’t matter. In fact, I loved it! That still small voice was telling me to “redeem the time” be thankful for this time with the kids and enjoy it. What if I didn’t get done? Who cares? It didn’t matter, what really mattered was that I could rake up piles of leaves so they could do what they wanted to do, just be kids! For a long time I piled them high and they ran and jumped in them, dragging my neat piles all over the place. I enjoyed the entire process. I was reminded how 30 years ago I wouldn’t have had the insight to just enjoy this time and forget about the task at hand. They didn’t care if I finished or didn’t finish, they just wanted to play. So we played and it was great!
If you have time to turn a project into playtime, don’t miss the opportunity. Don’t get so caught up in the work that you miss whats really important. It’s those spontaneous times that can become teaching times or just memories that they will carry for years to come long after we are gone. Do you have a memory of your grandpa raking leaves and letting you jump in them? I don’t. What about your dad? I don’t have that either. The point is we are always making memories, let’s choose to make them great ones.