I remember feeling a pain deep inside, when just days after my first child had arrived I had to go to work. It just didn’t seem right. There she was, the most precious gift God had given Zerrin and I–a very real part of me–and I had to say good-bye.
From that day forward I would increasingly experience an unexplainable mix of joy and pain inside my heart between wanting to hold on to her forever and letting her go. I have felt that mixture of emotions every day for 28 years not only with Brittany, but again with my son Micah, and my second daughter Taya.
How do we enjoy the time we have with our spouse and children, while knowing our time is limited?
Guess what I am going to emphasize?
The greatest challenge for those of us who have a lot on our plates, is to to live Stephen Covey‘s third habit: “put first things first.” In my first article in this series I wrote how I came to the conclusion that there is nothing more important to do in life than to love. Hence, on those days where virtually all I am able to do is spend time with my children or do something for my spouse or help a neighbor, guess what? I did the most important thing of all!
What is most important?
When our children were small we had the fortunate opportunity to take them to a beautiful cottage on Lake Michigan for one week every summer. Every year as we pulled in the parking lot for the first time, I stopped and told myself “this is for one week. It will go fast. Make the most of every opportunity with the kids and Zerrin.”
We swam in the lake, made sand castles, went to the frog, toad, and turtle races, hiked up and down the dunes, and climbed the huge boulders in front of the cottage. Whenever one of our kids wanted to do something else, and I was tired, I reminded myself again that it was only one week and I wanted every moment to count. And they did! My only regret was that it wasn’t for two weeks every summer!
Nothing in life is more important than relationships!
A few nights ago, I received word from a dear friend of mine: his wife had passed away from cancer that afternoon. It had been ten years since his wife had undergone radiation and inadvertently experienced brain damage in the process. For all 10 years my friend was by his wife’s side day and night to care for her. It has been the greatest example to me of unfailing love that I have ever witnessed.
Over the past 8 years, I have had several friends who lost a spouse to cancer. In each situation, I observed how each one lived with the same idea: they sought to make every minute count.
Look through your calendar, your daily routines, and overall lifestyle. What are you doing with your time? What are you doing that has very little or lasting value? If you knew you only had 6 months to live, what would you be doing differently?
Start doing it now! For you don’t KNOW if you have even 6 days!
Question: How do we enjoy the time we have with our spouse and children, while knowing our time is limited? You can leave a comment by clicking here.