I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!
(Last week sat down with the intention of writing this post. Instead, I ended up whining about earbuds and yardwork. I am easily distracted...)
Ever since I was a little boy it bothered me that Dorothy never just turned over the hourglass, or at least laid it on its side to give herself more time. (No, I am not giving any background story on this idea. If you don't know what I am talking about, you need to crawl back under your rock.)
Last week as I was working in the yard, a song came up on my iPod from a little-known band I love named Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers called "Hourglass". It isn't one of their best songs, but there is a line in the song that says:
Sand is rushing through the glass,
Turning now into the past so fast,
Turn the hourglass over.
My first thought was of Dorothy's ineptness, but my second thought was about these boys I was doing yardwork with. They are going to be gone so fast. I wish there were ways to slow things down sometimes - to turn the hourglass over.
Right now, a lot of my blog friends are laughing and saying "Yeah, right! I can't WAIT until these kids are out of diapers/pre-school/elementary school/high school/the house". I get it. I really do. There are periods of time when I wondered what we were thinking when we brought these FOMLs into the world. We surely weren't t thinking how hard, expensive and exhausting it would be.
But..now that some of the kids are in college, on missions, and graduating from high school, it pains me. I didn't like donating baby stuff to the D.I. I didn't like storing a stroller and crib, just in case one of our yet unborn grandbabies eventually needs it. I did not like saying goodbye to that stage in my life. My EC really struggled (struggles) knowing that she is done making babies. (I do, however, enjoy not changing poopy diapers or dealing with sour milk puke.)
All of this got me thinking about the "When" mode. A place that all of us enter, and some people never leave. The "when" mode is best characterized as this:
I'll be happy when I...
...get out of High School
...get on my mission
...get home from my mission
...get into college
...get out of college
...have a career
...get a raise
...get the kids out of the house
...send the grandkids home
...am safely dead.
Amulek and Alma teach the idea that our personalities don't magically change after we are resurrected. If we are miserable here, we will be miserable in the next life. If we are happy here, we will be happy there. I worry when I hear folks complain about how unhappy they are and say they can't wait for the Second Coming/next life. Apparently,it doesn't work that way. (Alma 34, Alma 41)
The Apostle Paul seemed to have nailed down this problem. In his epistle to the Philippians, a couple verses after his famous "admonition", Paul said:
"For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11)
Not me. I have not developed the ability to find the contentment wherever I am. Far too often I am looking forward to the next big thing that is going to bring that illusive contentment, or even the next little thing. In addition, I struggle with a little regret that I didn't squeeze enough significance and contentment out of the time that is already gone. It went so fast. And there is no slowing it down - there is no way to turn the hourglass over .
I do know that when I focus on my family and try to spend more/better time with them, I find more of that real contentment.
Does it slow time? Not a bit. In an instant all of the kids will be grown and gone from the nest. We will have pictures, videos and memories of their childhoods. But I am building those memories which will be of great value when I am old(er).
We will also remember if we hated this current stage of life, or loved it. And that is probably how we will look back on it eternally.