Carolyn and I returned recently from a week of grand-child care in St. Albert, Alberta. (Hence the delay in new posts on this site.) Though we parented four children of our own a good number of years ago, caring for three primary-age children at this time seemed much more challenging than what we recall from our experience in the past. Granted, much of this has to do with less energy because of where we are in life, but I also think it has to do with the greater demands that parenting involves these days.
Just helping them fulfill their daily school requirements seems more demanding. Not only does caring for them entail individualized lunch and diet needs for the day, but also ensuring that all of their assignments have been completed and are ready to be included in their “agendas” for the next day. Then there are safety considerations and clothing needs for each day. Add to this complexity of their extra-curricular schedules of soccer and music and other social interests and obligations and it all makes for parenting being a very challenging role. I have a new sense of respect and appreciation for those, like our own children, who are seeking to successfully raise kids in these times.
Something else that happened during our time away was the great wild-fire of Ft. McMurray. It happened during the first week of May when the weather was unusually warm and dry. We saw scenes and heard reports of what was happening in that community as everyone had to be evacuated that could only be described as “apocalyptic.” I have written of the meaning of this in our local paper, explaining that this word is actually a reference to the biblical book of Revelation in the New Testament. “Apocalyptic” means unveiled, and in the ultimate sense has to do with insight into the events surrounding the end of the world by fire as described in this book. The use of this term in reference to the fires of Ft. McMurray, I think, is a graphic reminder to all of us of the truth of the Revelation and the need to be properly prepared through faith in Jesus Christ.
The third happening of these days away was to receive the news via Facebook that two younger friends, whom we had known quite well in an earlier time, were suddenly taken from us leaving their husbands and family members bereft of their company. Additionally, a young man with a young family, the middle son of close friends, also succumbed to cancer during this time leaving his wife and three little children without. These instances were poignant reminders of the very transient nature of life for everyone.
These experiences of the last couple of weeks have given us “cause for pause.” We live in a world of constant activity and human industry of one kind or another which often takes life for granted and seems preoccupied with what we have often referred to as “temporal” values. Temporal values have to do with placing major emphasis on things that are temporary, that aren’t going to last very long. While there is much about human ingenuity and ambition that is commendable and even praiseworthy, we need to be careful lest mere interest in the things of this world occupies too much of our attention.
True to the text of Scripture, the world passes away and the lust of it (1 John 2:17). We are headed toward a final conclusion of history which is also evident in the pervasive increasing disregard, especially in this part of the world, for godly and biblical righteousness. It’s hard to appreciate all of this when you are young and ambitious about life, but the truth is that life is actually pretty short in general, and something that may easily be taken from us sooner than later. With these things in mind, we need to make the most of our lives with eternity’s values in view.