As we face the realities of life after Christmas break, I always look back on how fast time went by. I loved the freedom of it all: no responsibilities and no routines. We could go do something fun at a drop of a hat. One such outing was heading to the movie theater.
It was New Year’s Day and we decided to watch the new Mary Poppins movie. I won’t go into detail and give spoilers, but there was one part of the movie that was encouraging. After a fun and silly song, some of the main characters reflected on the song’s message, concluding that perhaps they need to adjust their perspective.
As we left the theater and went home, I got to thinking. Life is hard and we are all just trying to do our best as we go through it. Sometimes we get stuck or distracted and we focus on things or goals that really don’t matter. Adjusting your perspective could definitely help in some situations.
A common scene in my home is a perfect example. I just want my house to be clean. I always think it is an easy request of my kids — they are the ones who made the mess, right? But if I am being honest with myself, days like that are horrible. I’m constantly nagging them to do their chores. I’m throwing threats. I’m throwing bribes. Anything to get them to clean the house. But because I am so focused on the house, I lose focus on how I should be treating my kids. Sure, it’s nice to have a clean home, but it’s not EVERYTHING.
What is EVERYTHING then?
I was on Facebook a few days ago when I got a message from a friend of mine. We met when we did a Study Abroad program in London for a semester. His cousin Elizabeth was also part of the program. That was the first time I had met her. We became friends pretty quickly and throughout the years we’ve kept in touch. She was one of those people who loved life. She always had a smile on her face. Her happiness was contagious. You wanted to be around her because of not how she felt, but how you felt. She always made me feel better about myself when I was around her. Fast-forward 15 years, she has a beautiful family, a wonderful husband and four amazing children.
So when I read his message, my heart sank.
Driving home from visiting family over the holidays, her family hit some black ice. The car flipped onto oncoming traffic and was hit by a semi. She and her husband passed away. Their second daughter also didn’t make it.
I felt so many emotions all at once and then my mind went to Mary Poppins. Life wasn’t the same anymore and my perspective changed quickly. The movie we had watched just a few days earlier had a whole new meaning. At church, we always talk about having an eternal perspective on life. That basically means that the things here on earth are temporary. All our “stuff” is going to remain, but our memories, experiences, knowledge and relationships continue on. So for me, that is my EVERYTHING. My family and my children are what are most precious to me.