Well, it’s only about 25 steps, but on at least one of my nightly wakings, I walk the Gauntlet of Grief. It’s a mixture of worry and concern and reverse-flashback, all rolled into one.
I’ll think about what I need to do right now, and then what we’re doing ‘tomorrow’ (which is really today). Appointments, medications, feedings, home visits, blood draws, errands, friends’ visits, family, etc., etc.. But as I walk, the calendar spins and I’m thinking about what preschool, gradeschool, and high school the kids might go to. Where will we live? Will we homeschool? What will the kids be like? What hobbies? What interests? What will they think of Jesus? Can we bring them to a church that represents his ideas well? What will they think of me and all my crazy ideas? How will we connect? What will be easy and fun, and what will be hard? How can I get them to know their family, and all of our great friends? How can I shield them from some of the darkness in the world, and still let them be exposed to it a little? What kind of clothes will they wear? What kind of music will they listen to? How will we buy all of that stuff?
I have always had a weird sense for time moving forward, so it’s not hard to hold my son, for example, in his utterly dependent, 7lb. state, and also imagine him having a conversation with me, 15 years later. I usually think of him in both ways, simulateously. I realize that being a father doesn’t just mean raising some helpless person; it alwo means getting to know another soul– another person in their own right.
So how will we get there? How will we get through the next day, the next week, the next month, the next years. I have confidence that we can, and will, but also I walk this long/short walk, and worry a little. After a minute, it all fades away. I guess it just takes it’s place in the background noise.