what is important?

Bill and Carolyn Allen wedding day 2What a week it has been. We traveled South to attend my nephew’s wedding, then to visit my parents, and now to attend Life Action Ministries board of directors’ meeting today and tomorrow.

I am sitting here enjoying balmy weather while NE Indiana is struggling through some more winter weather – that I don’t mind!

It seems I am a bit of a slow learner, but I have learned more this week. It started with a long drive (14 hours) with all my family to Mississippi to just make the rehearsal dinner for my nephew and his soon to be bride. It was a great time of connecting with my wife and two daughters. The next morning we then had breakfast with two friends and had a great time of reconnecting with them. Then that afternoon we celebrated a simple, fun, Christ-centered wedding. We witnessed the beginning of a new family.

We then traveled to Louisiana where my parents now live next to my sister and her husband. There we were preparing my parents to move into an assisted living facility. There we were witnessing the twilight of a marriage – of two lives that have blessed their children and grandchildren. We spent time looking at pictures of them in their youth that now seems so far away. My father, who once was a Class A Repairman on huge motors that stand taller than a house, now has to be helped doing even the basic things. My mother whom I admired for her sharp mind is now in the beginnings of Alzheimer’s and is frustrated because she can’t remember certain things or repeats herself and knows she is doing so. Quite a contrast to what we had witnessed the day before.

What struck me is how their eyes lit up when they saw their children and (especially!) grandchildren. The things that they talked about and treasured were not memories of their vocation, but of their families and friends. Despite the pain they were dealing with and their challenges, the memories of and delight in family shone through all of it.

Then, I had to leave to come to the board meeting while the rest of my family drives back to Indiana. I flew through the Atlanta airport which was swarming with people in so much of a hurry. So many on their technology oblivious to others and their surroundings. They were moving at “warp speed”.

I wondered how much they are missing. I thought about how much I have missed because I treasured the wrong things, because I lived my life to wrong priorities. Seeing my parents only one or two times a year over the last decade. When my children were young and I was working hard, I would often leave before they were up and not be home until after they were asleep in bed. Then when I was home, my mind often wasn’t – it was still working on problems, so I wasn’t really “home”.

Fortunately I have a forgiving family that loves me and lets me know it. I just grieve at the things I missed and cannot go back and retrieve. In some things in life you don’t get a do-over. You do receive forgiveness and grace, but some things – once you miss them – they are gone.

The question I have is are you living your life according to what is really important? Or are you missing out on things because of what someone else told you was important? Is your work, your boss, actually an idol in your life? Are you sacrificing time with those who love you most for people and institutions who will barely remember you when you are gone? Are you doing that in your relationship with Christ?

Determine what is important in your life and live accordingly. Be courageous and change.