Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Life is a Vapor

Life is short. . .

Today is my precious little niece's 1st birthday. She is the only grandchild in the family, the only niece I've got, and her life has been very attentively watched by at least 20 thrilled eyes . . . our little darling. . . our pride and joy!

Yet this year has fairly flown by. Just days ago, it seems, Josh and I wondered aloud to my brother and his wife "there's another person living here now!" (Have you had a similar thought, perhaps? There was not that person yet -- and then suddenly there was!). It was the biggest excitement when they would bring her down to our house (we used to inhabit the same apartment building), and she was a wonder, just by her existence. . . now she is able to create her own excitement with words, a step or two, or a laugh. I remember being utterly taken by the fact that she was a red-head -- making her special, of course! -- and now we are constantly taken by whatever outfit she is decked out in, or her hilarious expressions (the better to entertain you all with, my dears).

As amazing as it is, the next year will be even more so, bringing a birthday where the special child can speak to her guests, sing happy birthday to herself, rip open the gifts of her own accord. And then on an on. . . the birthdays will come . . . they will fly by. I know this, because I can fairly see my now 17-year-old sister Emily at her first birthday, and much like my niece, she charmed our socks off. Now Emily is grown, almost, getting ready to graduate high school, and I think to myself "where in the world has the time gone?" The little grow. The young age. It never stops, never even pauses, much as we long for it to, sometimes. If we only had it in our grasp to push pause and just bask in the beauty of how good it is right now.

It is natural for us to long for forever unchanging. We are creatures created for eternity. Our hearts fight against the pain of change, the pain of leaving things behind, because deep deep down we have such a longing for the Great Unchanging One. The Immutable Rock.

I have to tell myself not to grasp at the vapor. That's not the answer. Certainly -- squeeze that little one to pieces, and kiss her darling cheeks (whether she is 1 or 17), tell her she is precious, and beautiful and dearly loved, and embrace the blessing of the moment. But let your heart and mind rest knowing that one day . . . oh yes, on that Great Day, it will be the best. . . and He will never go away.


Anonymous said...

You are so right--life is but a vapor. I think that fact becomes more evident as you watch children grow. My older son will be 10 in a few weeks. Where did the decade go?

I remember having the same feeling (as described in your post) when my second son was born, that there were two boys living in my house now where there had only been one. It is humbling and overwhelming at the same time.

The other day my younger son was contemplating the thought of God having no beginning and no end. "It twists my mind around," he said, not able to comprehend it. How can we comprehend eternity when our life here is but a vapor?

Kevin Foflygen said...

That is eery! We wrote the exact same thing in different words. I once had a dream that I brought my dog to school, and it turned out Danny had the same dream the same night. But this... this is like a 4.5 on the coincidence scale.

Johanna said...

Great post Gret. I love the second to the last paragraph (and you said it so well too) I've never thought about that before. We are certainly creatures longing for forever unchanging.
Like morning rose's son, I remember thinking as a 4 year old about no beginning and no end. That's really hard to grasp as a child.

S&s said...

nice to meet you as well! Sara is my sister-in-law--and a GREAT one! Thanks for stopping by my blog to say hello. I can relate to you--my husband is in seminary as well! I am learning a lot through this situation--and have many more things to add to my learning list;)

Aren't vintage things fun? When you get down about your small space, remember the phrase, "Great things come in small packages" ;) (My mother quoted that to me often --I was always the smallest in the class;) However, I have applied that quote to many things throughout life!

Have a wonderful day!
Sarah Branine

Anonymous said...

First of all I am super sorry about e-mailing you Cede's picture...I tried but our computer was being retarded.
I have totally been thinking about this lately too (not that I don't always think about it when change comes)..I think maybe that it has something to do with the fact that for the first time I am watching other children growing up instead of being consumed by the changes in my self...(not that I'm not a child, because I am)...not to mention all of this getting ready for college and stuff...there are so many reasons to stay here, so many reasons not to want to change...but God brings change into our lives..possibly only to make us place our hope in the eternity to come.
I just thought I'd tell you I enjoyed this very much even though I had to ran to the back of the bookstore to get a kleenex for my tears..;)

Gretchen said...

Morning Rose -- I am sure you can understand my thinking here with your two growing up before your very eyes! WOW!

Kev -- Is it just me, or do we have ESP? Like tonight (thank you by the way, for asking Josh to bring me my notebook), I was thinking "maybe I'll see Kevin, and HE can get ahold of Josh" and then I saw you. WEIRD.

Johannie -- thanks, girl. Tonight I heard someone say "whenever I get the longing to put down roots, I know I am longing for heaven" -- and she was so right!

Sarah -- WOW! Where does your husband go to Seminary? My husband is at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and we like it quite a bit!

Emma -- Bless your darling heart! I was pretty much hysterically bawling the whole time I was typing this post because I was thinking about you growing up, and thinking about how hard it is to change, and just sobbing and sobbing. :( I love you, sissy dear!

S&s said...

well, we are at Central in Virginia Beach. Seminary is full of great times, huh! I'm sure your husband is in "crunch" time right now. I somehow convinced my husband to go to bed early--and get up early tomorrow--instead of trying to drink a gallon of coffee and stay up late tonight;) I hope your semester is ending soon--and that a wonderful, restful summer is ahead...unless summer school is on the calendar, as it is for my husband;)

katydidsmiles said...

You have a beautiful way of putting words together. I love the way you express this longing we have for the unchanging.

Gretchen said...

S -- Yes, my husband is in crunch time, and yes, he is also headed for summer school . . . but I am glad of that. He feels up for it, and it will help out in the long run. We just started, so we're doing as much as we can right now!

Katydid -- thank you for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

Aunt Gretchen,

Thanks for remembering me on my birthday! I missed having you and Uncle Joshie here to eat cake! Thank you for the wonderful gifts! I love the soft quilt.

I will ask momma and dada to send some pictures of me.

I LOVE you!


Anonymous said...


This was EXACTLY what I was talking about. I had to dive for the tissues while reading this. These sisters of ours are like my children to me. I miss them being little when they would follow me around everywhere and ask if they could watch everything I would do. And I know I will miss them being this sweet age. I know that there would be no way I could love my own children as much as I love them, so it's really mom's fault that I will never have kids. >;) Don't worry mom, you have Cede, is there anything else!?. >:)