Time of our lives

Last month seemed to fly, probably because so much happened – and it all happened so quickly. Or maybe it just seemed to fly because I’m slower, or was it because I was ‘on the go’ a lot? Time is so easily measured, but how we use it somehow affects the way we perceive it. Five minutes waiting for a bus can seem like an hour, yet five minutes reading a good yarn is over in a flash.

Having spent the last ninety years travelling on this bus of life, I can tell you it seems like that time went in the blink of an eye! Last month was busy, as usual, but the second half simply flew. The speed went up a notch when my entire family gathered for my birthday. All the family but one grandson (who is away overseas and who made a special phone call) were able to gather in Melbourne for my birthday. I am still recovering from the joy of that time we spent together to celebrate. The one other person who couldn’t be there, my dear wife Dorothy, was present in my mind and I’m sure her five children held her in their hearts, too.

It was a very special time for me to reflect on all the past years but, as I have probably said before, it’s the ‘here and now’ that we must enjoy and to live as well as we can. Looking back and reminiscing is, of course, important; it shapes us and prepares us for today and tomorrow but living fully in the moment is what I aim for. That feeling of being present was what I strove for on the night of my birthday dinner with all our family, but…I was so overcome with emotion that I could hardly even speak! I had planned a little speech to specially thank our daughter for her role in finding the venue and meal arrangements and to thank her brothers, who all had a hand in ensuring the night worked so beautifully. Didn’t work! I was struck dumb and fumbled my way through a short, ineffectual talk about ‘olden times’, not a thank-you speech! Never mind, over the preceding months, I had written a little book about my first ninety years and gave a copy to everyone; far from complete, but a little glimpse into my life that might be of interest in another few generations…

I know, from the all the happy talk and stories on the night, that we all had a fun time together. Some of our children had pieced together a slideshow of some old photos, which was great fun. And my family travelled from Queensland and northern and southern Victoria; no mean feat to assemble all our five children with their partners, their children, and their children – four generations of us. And all together and all good mates. How great is that! I love them all dearly. The tragedy is that I don’t remember now if I actually told them that on the night! I seemed to be in a trance-like state for most of the evening! The night was rounded off with a tear-jerking little chorus by our youngest grandchildren who sang a little song they had composed! It was an updated version of the one that they’d sung to Dorothy and me on my eightieth birthday. I wonder if they will be able to sing it to me again in another ten years?

I thank God for my life, my wife, our children and their loving partners, their children with their partners and children and the next generation of babies – now three, and more to come! I feel so blessed to have such a family, and I continue to pray for my friends and all who are affected by health problems, especially those whose partner is affected by Alzheimer’s, and others who are experiencing family difficulties and particularly those who are alone with no family. May you, my reader, also know the love and peace of Christian fellowship.