Monday, August 19, 2002

I've got this buddy. He lives in suburban Denver. One of the nicest guys I've ever known. Smart. Good looking. He has a family that, by all appearances, could have fallen out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Two beautiful daughters and a wife that I call "Betty Crocker" for her cooking prowess, live in his house. Top it off with a yellow labrador retriever and it's a real "Hello, Ward. When will the Beaver be home?" atmosphere. He and I don't get to hang-out often enough. There is 900 miles of Kansas and it's cousins between his front porch and mine. But still we keep in touch. We email once or twice each week and occasionally I'll ring his phone up and see what's happening. It use to be, when we lived closer together, that our conversations would revolve around important things like.... golf. Jobs. Going out to dinner with our wives. But now that we have aged a bit and we have tasted of the frailty of life our discussions, whether e-d, phoned, or in person, have taken on a new hue. We have become more concerned with pleasing God and honoring Him with our actions and words. It is not like we were heathens and did not love God and desire to honor Him before, but it is different now. It is like we have given up on chasing the things that we previously thought might be worth chasing. Somehow we have realized that nothing temporary counts. At all. The lesson has been painful for both of us but I have confidence it will serve us well in the long run.

My friend revealed to me in an email this morning that his oldest daughter left for her sophomore year at college yesterday. Betty Crocker drove her down. He is left at home with their youngest, attending to her needs and keeping a major American corporation happy. There was a sadness in his brief email. It is a sadness that I understand. We are both watching cars drive away more and more often these days. Late summer and early fall are the worst. Oh man. I use to love this time of year. The kids get new notebooks and pencils and we get our lives back. It's all different now though. Instead of buying them rulers and erasers we buy them computers and meal tickets. When school starts we use to send them to bed earlier. Now we send them to places like Waco, Greenville, or West St. Louis County. I feel my friends pain. Everything has changed and we have to find our joy in the new seasons of life. I think that is why guys like us sometimes discover a renewed passion for knowing God. We've begun to realize how short life is and that when this "sneeze in eternity" is over... what else is there? I'm putting ALL of my eggs in God's basket, and I know that my friend is as well. I'm going by faith on the claims that it's a pretty cool basket to be in. I preach it and teach it but i can't see it. And then 12+ hour days make me into someone i don't want to be and if you string many of those together just call we "Saskwatch" and point me to the forests. But I'm rambling. It is Monday and I'm just going to sit and stare at the Weather Channel for a couple of hours. it's all the excitement i can take. but i'm praying for my friend from my side of the great prairie. I am praying for ours kids that are increasingly venturing out from the "home bases" that we have built around them. I'm praying for Betty Crocker and her long, lonely drive home. We need her safe. The future of Italian Beef is at stake. And I'm praying for that cold front moving in from the upper mid-west.