Going through some archived images earlier this week, I stumbled across this black and white photo I shot of my son Dylan (left) and his cousin, Jace. This was ten years ago, almost to the day. These two boys were best of friends, and took every chance they got to do exactly what you see here – to run, explore, discover, laugh, and play. There were sleepovers and blanket-forts, plastic guns and pretend bad-guys, and running through sprinklers on hot days. This feels like a lifetime ago, honestly. My 14 year-old nephew Jace was just accepted into a program that will allow him to take college courses this fall as a freshman in high school. He’s bright and kind, loves his family (and rabbits, chickens, goats, and most every other kind of animal) and has big – and good – ideas about where his future will find him. Dylan is 14, too. If he’s not running track or lifting weights, you’ll find him with his headphones on, working on his singing voice. He’s quite a talented vocalist already, and has his sights set on doing something with music when he gets older.
It’s cliched, but I don’t know where the time goes. An image like this one shocks me into remembering just how quickly life moves, and how much discipline it takes to fully engage the now. Ten years have brought a lot of changes my way – mostly good, but some have been profoundly difficult, even life-altering. And there have been times I’ve been so busy surviving, just making my way – that I miss what’s happening right in front of me. The same year I took this photo, country recording artist Trace Adkins released “You’re Gonna Miss This” …a moving melody about this very thing. In the chorus, he sings –
You’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna want this back.
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.
These are some good times, so take a good look around
You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.
There’s no secret that makes living in the present easy; I think it’s a series of small course corrections we make as we go, until hopefully they become habits that enforce healthy boundaries and help us say “no” to good things so we have room to say “yes” to best things. Like anything it’s a process, less about the destination and more about who we are (and are becoming) on the journey. It does require being teachable, though, and the humility to recognize that sometimes even our best ideas and intentions fall short, that there’s always room to improve – especially when it comes to the people that matter to us most.
Trace Adkins was right. I do miss “those” days. But seeing these images helps me remember I have days and moments like these happening right now that I don’t want to slip past without giving them a good squeeze, and absorbing all the love and fun and goodness from them I can while they’re here.
So friends, here’s to course corrections, to being teachable, to being fully present in the now, and pursuing the Best.
Until next time…