The other evening Dima and I were saying our prayers and getting him ready for bed when he asked me a serious question. Now, questions are not unusual from Dima, for he is the master of asking questions, usually the obvious ones... Yet this time he knocked me for a loop. His question? "Dad, how did you get to 42 so fast?" I didn't have a good answer. But I have been thinking about it since then and I have come up with some observations.
First, for the past 20 years I have been in love with his mother, Lora. It seems impossible to believe that it has been so long, already more than half Lora's life and approaching half of mine.
For the past 12 years I have been raising his sister, Leanna. She is an amazing gift from God who is growing up way too fast.
For the past 5 years I have been raising Dima. Is it possible that he has been in our family for five years already? This month in 2001 he started living with us. Our life has surely never been the same...
For the past 2 years I have been loving Lexi. How can my baby already be two years old?
When I think of my years in relation to my family I can see how 20 years can get by.
Another way to count the years is to count ministry locations. Three and a half years as a youth minister at the Leonard Street church in Pensacola. A group of kids who still make me proud. Although I am separated from them by half the world and lots of years, they hold a special place in my heart. Another couple of years as the pulpit minister at the Innerarity Point church. Friendships that have proven to be very strong indeed were forged in a short amount of time. Then there was the year in Gorlovka in 1992. Without a doubt the best and the worst year of our life - Lora and I agree on that one. Then more than six years in Luverne, which provided us with relationships that bless us richly today. Now we have been in Ukraine again for more than six years. Our partnership with the Palo Alto church gets richer and deeper with each passing year. Lots of lives touched, lots of memories made, lots of ministry experienced. 20 years can fly by.
Walking with Jesus produces an ironic result in my life. While I am not worried about each day, I notice that the days seem to get by faster than I would like. I am thrilled to be where I am today, in Ukraine at age 42. Yet I see it all moving faster into the future and I would love for it all to slow down some. Maybe that is why "at the renewal of all things" Jesus will remove time as we know it and exchange it for eternity. With an endless supply of days, maybe there will be time to slow it all down...