For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:18
Our children Ross and Maria love to watch home videos of when they were very small. Maria, now seven, especially enjoys seeing her twelve-year-old brother as a baby. They laugh at how he waddles around and falls down or chases the dog and squeals. The last one they watched, of Ross's third birthday, is a favorite.
"There's the big bug," Ross said, watching himself unwrap the year's best-loved gift. "I wonder what happened to that thing?" While the kids laughed about a boy who'd wanted a big, ugly bug for his birthday, I felt a little sad. All he'd wanted that year was a toy bug, and we searched everywhere for the right one. But now, like so many other things that once mattered so much, it had disappeared, either given away or settled to the bottom of a junk drawer.
"All those treasures forgotten," I said to my husband Paul, thinking that I don't need more reminders that my kids are growing up.
"Yeah," he said, "but remember how much that ugly bug meant to him? That's what matters."
As I thought about it, I understood. No matter how much our children may have loved a special toy or stuffed animal, those things simply don't last. The gifts that matter are the ones we can't hold in our hands. Love, trust, joy, faith, self-confidencethe gifts I have prayed for God to help me impart to my childrenthose are the things Ross and Maria hold on to tightly and take with them everywhere they go.
Now when I find those former treasures in the junk drawer, they serve as gentle reminders that while my children are growing up, they're not abandoning their real treasures, but taking along the best of all we've given them.
Teach me, God, to enjoy the passage of time as another of Your eternal gifts.