“Why does time go by so fast? And how can we slow it down?”
My sixteen year old son Josh asked me this question at 6:15 this morning.
At 6 a.m. we had left the house to walk into town. The weatherman had promised a scorcher today so we wanted to have an early start on our workout. The sun was just beginning to burn through the early morning fog and all was quiet, except for the cheerful chirping of the birds.
I took a moment to look up at him as we walked; remembering a time not too long ago when I had to look down to see his sweet little face. Those days are long gone, as he now hovers around six feet tall.
He has always had an introspective side. He can be very silly and fun, but his thoughts run deep.
I sighed and told him I knew how he felt. Lately, I have been acutely aware of how fast time is flying and my accompanying sense of helplessness, like trying to grasp the wind.
Then I quoted a few lines from One Thousand Gifts that really spoke to me so I memorized it as a reminder:
“Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this is the only way to slow time…when I fully enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention…I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.”
He was silent, thinking.
“Look around, Josh,” I said quietly. “Be all here.”
So, we drank everything in, together.
The soft morning light. The still surface of the lake, reflecting the sky above like a mirror. A lone kayaker out in the distance. A bird lighting onto the branch of a tree. An orange cat sitting as still as a stone among the high grass, her gold eyes following us as we walked past.
Josh, the only cat lover in a family of dog lovers, laughed with delight. “She’s a ginger like me!” he said.
“This is being all here, ” I told him. “Pay attention. Notice the details. Search for beauty. It’s always there.”
He loves high school and I encouraged him to truly treasure this time because before he knows it, he will have graduated and the kids will all scatter.
“Now is the only time that you all will be together in one place. So enjoy it and live the life out of everyday you are there.”
What a beautiful thing…to spend this time with my son on a Saturday morning. To know that we enjoy each other’s company and that he is willing to share what is going on in his life with me.
We are very much alike, he and I. That sure made for some fireworks when he was little. He is every bit the strong personality that I am and we had quite a few battles of the will. My mom spent many hours encouraging me to stand strong and be consistent, to do the hard work of shaping his little soul.
With the Lord’s help, my husband and I did just that. And oh how sweet the fruit from that season is now.
I so enjoy his company. We laugh…a lot. We challenge each other. We encourage each other. We argue from time to time. As he makes his faith his own, I answer many questions. He loves to tease me, particularly as I get older and more forgetful. And I love the fact that he is not embarrassed to still give me a hug in public. 🙂
He is a writer like me and it was on this walk this morning that he told me he is going to start his own blog.
He has a lot to say to the world and I can’t wait to begin reading.
We finished our four mile walk and soon we were back on the road. This time, I was taking him to meet his girlfriend and her parents. They were going to spend the day in Maine. As soon as he spotted their vehicle, he took off in a light jog and greeted them enthusiastically. A day of fun in the sun awaited him. Before disappearing into the van, he raised his arm and gave me a big grin.
“See you later, Mom!”
And with a flurry of waves all around, they turned the corner and drove out of my sight.
This was good. This was right. This is how it should be. From the moment our children learn to walk, they begin to walk away from us. His world is getting bigger.
Yet I still had tears in my eyes as I walked back to my car alone.
I have two more years with him until he goes away to college. I know the time will fly.
Until then, I will treasure the moments like I shared with him this morning, when I taught him how to be completely present to the glorious now.
I will fully enter into the minutes as they pass…so that when the relentless river of time sweeps the coming days away, I will have a heart full of beautiful memories that will soften the inevitable sting of his empty room.
“I am a hunter of beauty and I move slow and I keep the eyes wide.” —Ann Voskamp