I’ve heard it said, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” Joni Mitchell’s use of it almost ruined it for me, but like all good adages, they outlast all of us and stand the test of time.
While I get the wisdom in those simple words, they don’t take into account the precious gift of redemption. I was all business with the older daughters, from coaching them in lacrosse to teaching them to drive. It was all about results… and it’s worked well for them in their professional lives, not that it’s due to me. I’m proud of them and their accomplishments.
But time has a way of catching up with the skewed perspective of a younger person. That old adage doesn’t take into account second, third, and fourth chances. Not to mention that sometimes the ones who got slighted along the way gain something from seeing a change in the life of another, especially someone we love.
Seeing changes in others who we’ve spent time with can make us feel like we were part of the journey that God uses for wisdom and redemption. I’ve witnessed changes in my parents – although great parents, wisdom and life, especially when seeking God, has a way of changing folks for the better.
I thought about them a bit deeper a few weeks back when the youngest and I were on an excursion that started with an excuse for her to practice her driving. Enter; Barnes And Noble… no idea where she gets her love of reading and writing…
She looks at books, I cruise the aisles and escalator around the magical place like a kid in a candy store. I eventually maneuver my way to the $4.99 CD section as well. “You wanna get a coffee and walk around?” the youngest asked me. I thought for about a millisecond, “Sure,” I answered.
The sun was losing its zeal over the edge of the earth as we walked around the desolate outdoor mall, not too fast, I can’t make too good a time in flip flops. It wasn’t that many years ago I didn’t even own a pair… wouldn’t have worn them in public if I did.
My little one and I strolled the streets, up one side and down the other. We talked about the birds in the massive ficus trees fighting for their spots as they were bedding down for the night. She told me about the marshmallow roasting station that was there the last time she and her girlfriend were at the corner as we passed by it.
Apparently I did really miss out on something… No do-overs for the big girls or me… We talked about nothing and everything, one of those long comfortable conversations that you have when no one has an agenda… the kind that makes even bad decaf taste good.
We listened to and talked about the music being piped into the overhangs and trees throughout the outdoor mall. My little one asked questions – good ones, about things she’s just discovering. She pays better attention to things than I did when I was her age, by a long shot.
I think sometimes God gives us second chances. Sometimes we get to live long enough, experience enough, to know what we’ve got before it’s gone. I’m sad for what I missed when it was right in front of me, even with my wife’s urging, but I’m grateful for another chance.
As we listened to our five buck CD, her favorite track over and over, like I do mine, as she drove us home, my little one blurted, “Oh my gosh! – I’m just like you!” I didn’t say anything, I just chuckled…
and pray it’s the older me…