All of a sudden I feel like a grown up. I guess it comes with the territory when truly momentous events happen in your life. My family and I have had a fabulous couple of weeks. Personally I got to enjoy the rare joy which a father experiences from the simple act of walking his first-born daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Trust me when I tell you that it has been a real whirlwind of activity. The last weekend of May was a blur of hustle and bustle. And so it will remain in my mind's eye for a long time now.
I guess that watching one's children leave the nest has been a bugaboo for parents throughout the ages. You can watch it happen to others, but boy is it ever special when it is your turn at bat. So now it is with the Carter clan. My son the priest is in residence at Our Lady of Sorrows near Trenton, our married daughter Ellen is on her honeymoon with her beloved Patrick in Hawaii, and our middle child, Katie, the firefighting daughter, is buying a condo.
Darn, I am really starting to feel like I' all grown up now. I guess I am all grown up or why else would I be carrying a Medicare card in my wallet. I guess the secret to my personal good feeling lies within the fact that I try not to think of myself as a grown up. I am just a kid masquerading as an adult.
Growing up was the topic of the sermon in church the other day. Our Associate Pastor Chris Van DeBunte spoke of the problems which you can face in growing up. It was the proper sermon for the service as it was confirmation Sunday. We received our latest group of young folks who stepped up to take their active place among the members of our congregation.
The church was packed with family and friends of the folks being confirmed. It was a special day for me too, for you see I was once again privileged to serve as a mentor to a member of that class. For the second year in a row I was privileged to share my faith with a young member of our church.
One of the critical elements of the pastor's message involved the importance of learning to wait for life's joys and sorrows. Things do not always happen when you want them to happen. It seems that one of the great problems in society today arises from the fact that folks are enamored of the need for immediate satisfaction and instantaneous gratification. People want things right now and become extremely unhappy when their desires are not immediately fulfilled.
Yes my friends, this is one of life's true lessons. There is only one place where you can always expect to have it your way. That restaurant claims to have built their success upon meeting the immediate needs of their customers. However, it is one thing to get a burger the way you want it. It is another thing altogether to have your life's needs met with any degree of consistency or immediacy.
Patience has long been held up as a true virtue, one which we should seek to develop and embrace. Unfortunately, patience does not just happen. I can recall a number of years ago asking for patience during one of my prayers. Friends, I will not make that mistake again. Rather then being granted an instantaneous burst of patience, I was given a wide array of situations which required me to slow down and work my way through each of them. Hence, I guess you could say that patience came, but not according to my schedule.
That is how life works. When you are younger, you expect everything to happen when you want it. The longer I have lived, the more convinced I have become that things happen when they happen. Many of the longest periods of time I have ever lived through came immediately ahead of something that I dearly wish to have happen.
It is with a certain fondness that I can recall counting the days until I was allowed to leave Vietnam and return home. I can also recall counting the days until I left the service for good. The problem with counting the days is that they seem to move more slowly when you do that. But here we are now in the year 2012 and I have been out of the Air Force for just about 42 years. Wow, where did time go?