"Cherish every moment with the important people in your life as if it might be the last one, but go ahead and make future plans with them anyway." -[Something I thought up a few years ago]
This weekend I drove down to Tennessee to drive my soon-to-be ninety-year-old Grandaddy around Camden's 15th annual "30 Mile Yard Sale." It's been an annual tradition for our family to set up sales in the garage while I take Grandaddy around town looking for dirt-cheap deals on rusty metal (among other things). He uses a cane for precaution and for when his legs get tired, but he can get along fine without it.
This year, I was fully conscious of the fact that I probably won't get very many opportunities to continue this tradition in the future. Grandaddy has had Parkinson's Disease for nearly a decade, but he still possesses enough strength to maintain a fairly normal life and is still able to do many of the same routine things he has done throughout his life. The last two years, however, have taken its emotional toil on him on account of my Granny's long sickness and eventual death late in July. Grandaddy lives alone in heartbreak, but he hasn't given up because he still treasures the time he gets to spend with the rest of our family.
My mother is the only child of Granny and Grandaddy's sixty-five-year marriage, and my sister and I are their only grandchildren. Needless to say, they pretty much tried to spoil us at every opportunity (not so much in the early years, but considerably more-so since I went off to college in 2001). I cherish every opportunity I have to make a few more memories with Grandaddy for as long as the Lord gives him health and life.
I told him at Granny's funeral that I want him to live as long as possible. I suppose that was a somewhat selfish request on my part, but I just can't imagine life without a grandparent, and he's my last one left. Even though he gets around well, I tried to stay close to him at the yard sales, because I was so worried he might trip on a tree root or slip in some loose dirt. He almost tripped trying to go underneath a scaffold to avoid some rain, but he caught himself (the old man still probably thinks he's only 75 at times). Nothing makes me feel old like watching out for the folks who raised me as if they themselves were large children.
After I graduated from college, I was frustrated that so much of my life routine still felt the same as it always did. I wanted to move on with life. But now life seems to be changing awfully fast. I'm watching my elder relatives grow old, suffer, and die. I've experienced the loss of some great friends, and a few more friends have had some close calls. But I won't lose heart either. I serve a God who isn't surprised by anything, and I worship a Savior who has identified himself with the most pitiful point of the human condition. I don't fear the sorrowful days that surely await me in the future, but I just don't want them to happen anytime soon. If there is one thing I've learned about relationships in recent years, it's that you really have to make the most of the time God has given you with the people you love the most.