Years ago, I happened upon a book: Let Me Hold You A Little Longer by Karen Kingsbury. When I read it, I couldn't get through it without crying. I would think of my life and my children and just cry. This book taught me to celebrate my lasts. We as parents especially celebrate the "firsts." Think about it. We celebrate first steps, first day of school, first loose tooth, first solo driving experience first day of college, and first job. The list is endless. I want to flip the script on you. I want you to think about your "lasts." Today the Class of 2016 will complete their last day of high school in our small town. The Class of 2019, which was my last group to teach, will finish up their last days of being a high school freshman. Some are finishing up their college chapter. The lasts are so very important events that we tend to miss so let's peel another layer.
Having a disease like PMA/ALS, cancer, Parkinson's, or strokes can really make your lasts vivid. As I look through pictures social media, I see a lot of lasts. The last time I stood without a cane, the last time I drove myself, and the last time I went to work. Other more personal milestones for someone with degenerative diseases are like the last time you took a shower by yourself or toileted by yourself. There is no room for pride when you are so dependent physically. With cancer, I have witnessed the last kiss, the last squeeze of your hand, and the last rise and fall of a loved one's chest. Ironically as I read a devotional this morning it mentioned exercise. It stated, in order to build muscles and make them stronger, one needs to use resistance training. What is resistance? It's preventing an action. I remember all that weight lifting during my able athletic years. Now with my physical muscles declining, I have to relent resistance physically and allow my spiritual muscles to strengthen.
Many of us cling to the doing things our way, fixing our own issues, and drowning in our own miseries or problems. How do you smile, enjoy, or relax in such a state of helplessness I hear in my head as I pass people in my scoot. I have developed spiritual muscles and I'm flexing them. I have "Let go and Let God." Let me drive this point home. I didn't have to let God; I have let God carry all my physical burdens. There in lies the key. Whether you are healthy or sick, there is a consensus that happens when you allow God to take your burdens. You invite him to live inside you and shine for Him. He takes every situation and brings forth fruit if you just let Him. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me, really. I still have lasts and will until I take my last earthly breath. The game changer is that I'm relishing each one. We each have to say our goodbyes and start new chapters or "climbs." So congratulations to all of you in the middle of your lasts. Here's some advice from an old school teacher. Take the time to be cognizant in the moments of your life; you only get one. Celebrate your "Lasts."