A few months ago, I made the decision to have Felicity stay in her older fours class for another year. While I believe she is more than ready for Kindergarten work, I know that she needs just a little more time to mature and gain the confidence that will help her be successful beyond kindergarten. The “gift of time” is a term frequently used by educators to encourage parents to steer clear of the trap of rushing development simply based upon the child’s birthdate. Giving Felicity just a little more time is the best decision and is truly a gift to put her needs above the rush to grow up.
With the gift of time in mind, I have recently reflected on the fact that we have been in Pittsburgh for a whole year! As I shared with others, Felicity and I needed this place and this time to begin the healing process. While I believe we would have been ok remaining in Florida, I am grateful God pulled us away from familiar places and instant bittersweet memories. Our year has been very busy, full of new experiences (like snow and a polar vortex!) and many, many new friends. When we first arrived, the reality of starting over really hit me. But just like the days following my wife’s death, I found that the only way to get through painful moments was to grab hold of God’s hand and walk through the loss and hurt. I can’t say that I hurt less. In fact, there are still moments when I lay in bed, or wander the house in the early morning hours, feeling so sad and so alone. Those moments come and go and I know that “the gift of time” will ease the pain just a bit. I am beyond grateful for the presence of God – who not only understands my loss, but also is there to comfort me in my grief. He has been so patient with me and has helped me grow in ways I never thought possible.
This past week, I read of a family who, in an instant, lost three of their family members in the violent tornadoes that tore through Arkansas. My heart hurt for this wife and her children, who didn’t have the opportunity I had had to say goodbye. Some people think I am crazy when I say that I am thankful for the final moments Jaime and I shared. But I really am. I am well aware that many do not have that specific “gift of time.” And it truly was a gift. While she was still able to speak and recognize who I was, we shared some of the most amazing discussions. I still remember each one and I will treasure them until the moment when Jaime and I have the opportunity to see and speak to one another again.
I tend to not rush God or life like I once did. When that impatience rises up, I do ask myself, “James, what is the hurry? Enjoy right now!” When Fee asks me to play Barbie’s or ponies with her, I find that my list of reasons for not playing isn’t acceptable to me. Perhaps it’s because I have seen that we really don’t have as much time as we think. It could also be that I have experienced and continue to experience the gift and joy of borrowed time.