It is amazing how much things change over time. The people that we are, our priorities, the things we like or don't like and even the people we spend time with all change as time moves forward. There have been many people over the course of the years that I thought would be life long friends, but as time went on and our lives, jobs and family situations changed, we lost touch somehow.
Last year, I had lunch with an old girlfriend because I was passing through her town and thought it would be fun to catch up. I was really looking forward to swapping pictures of kids, catching up on who was doing what in each of our families and reminisce about some of the old days. However, the day did not happen the way I pictured it.
When we first saw each other it was great. We both smiled, gave each other a hug and sat down to talk. After about 5 minutes of seeing pictures of kids and catching each other up on what our siblings and parents were up to the conversation became forced. It became obvious very quickly that our lives had taken radically different paths and we just didn't know what to talk about. We did our best for the next hour, but we were both struggling to keep the conversation moving forward so we could finish our lunch and go our separate ways. This was the same girl that I used to talk on the phone with for hours. Now, I could barely get through a lunch. Plus, these days I don't want to talk on the phone with anyone. I hate talking on the phone. Things change.
Like many young people, I used to live for the weekend. I did much of the stereotypical early 20-something stuff. I knew the secret to a good life. Life was great and carefree and would forever be that way as long as I had that fantastic group of friends to keep having fun with. These were my best friends in the world and we had out lives together planned out. Ten years later, I couldn't tell you where most of them were.
These are not bad things. Looking back over what I just typed, I realized this looks kind of depressing, but it is not. Those events were just different seasons in my life. While I may miss some aspects of hanging out with a bunch of friends every weekend, I certainly do not miss the hangovers and dragging myself to work after staying out all night again.
Before those years all I ever did was watch television. I had the entire network schedule memorized. I spent my Friday evenings with the Duke boys and every Tuesday I hung out with Murdoch and B.A. Baracus. Thursdays were reserved for the Huxtable family and on various other nights I laughed with the Severs, Keatons and Gordon Shumway. I loved TV and would have never imagined life without it. However, later, I could go days (sometimes over a week) without seeing a single TV show because I was out with my friends. In fact, I had a few years when I didn't even own a TV. A while later, I concentrated more on my schooling. Eventually, I was married and had children. Then, my focus changed again. Having a child will do that to you.
Each one of these changes brought about other changes in the way I thought, acted and spent my time. My priorities and sometimes even my values changed as my life began to be concentrated in other areas. Add to all this the fact that I gave my life to Christ in the midst of these other changes and my thoughts and priorities really began to change.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says:
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
This is just life. New opportunities come and go. Wonderful people come into our lives as well as people we don't want to see. Disasters happen and then we heal. We go through many stages over the course of our lives, but a couple of things remain the same. We are always there choosing our next path and God is right there beside us for strength and guidance.
One year ago, I was content with the job I had and was concentrating on making sure my daughter had what she needed to finish high school. A few months later I lost that job and ended up going back to college to finish my Bachelor's degree and now I am enrolled in graduate school to get my Master's in Education. It is amazing how quickly life can change. Now I am focused on both my daughter's education and mine. Once I get my degree, who knows where that will take me.
I have a plan for the next twenty years, but my plans have never stayed on track for very long. I honestly don't know where my life is going to be in the next five years. I don't know where I will be working or even where I will live. Life changes all the time. Sometimes we decide to make a change and sometimes it is forced upon us. Fortunately, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
It really doesn't matter where life takes me.
(On a side note: score yourself 10 points if you can tell me who Gordon Shumway is in the comment section. Try not to use Google.)