Our lives are filled with moments, and it is those moments who make us who we are. Yesterday, when my youngest son, his wife, and my three grandchildren got of the car and came in my house in Africa to get hugs all around—that was a very special moment for me. The day a man sees his bride walking down the aisle toward him, the moment he holds his child for the first time, the first time he rides a bike on his own, the first time he recognizes the presence of God. As parents, our own wedding days, the graduations of our children, the quiet time that one hand reaches for another just to feel the warmth and love. The first time we see a rarity of nature like a bald eagle soaring above or a lion mother nursing her cubs, or even the eager licking of our face by a puppy who knows only love. For some, it’s a moment you never expected to capture on a photograph, but there it is. A hug when you really need one, a loved one remembering a special moment and sharing it with you—all these make up who we are. Maybe heaven is just reliving all those moments over and over for the joy, relief, comfort, love, and happiness they represent. I remember the first day I took my son to school and he cried because he didn’t want to leave me. I also remember the first time he couldn’t wait to get out of the car to rush to school without even a backward glance—and I cried. I remember the feeling of reaching the summit of Mount San Antonio and reaching the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I remember the feel of the helm of an America’s Cup yacht off the coast of St. Martin, and I remember all the moments when loved ones were spotted getting off a plane and smiling as they rushed toward me. I remember the Thanksgiving dinners, the first meals cooked by my sons, and the time John, aged five, made Fortune Cookies all over the kitchen floor. I remember bringing every child home from the hospital to his new home (not being sexist, I just have three sons).
Seeing my grandchildren yesterday playing with the Australian missionaries' children and then talking to local kids from Bunda—that was really special (see picture at the right). I also remember the moment when water came gushing from a well that would provide water for three villages and the people cheered. I remember the shy smile of a three-year-old orphan girl as I handed her a plate of rice and beans. I remember the big grin of an evangelist that got both a new bicycle and five new Swahili Bibles. God may have given me seventy-three years, but He filled them with moments of joy, euphoria, pain, loss, and the extreme happiness of being at the right place at the right time to provide the service He had asked of me. It is not the daily grind that fills our lives and keeps us going, it is the memories of past wonderful moments and the expectation of more that fill our hearts and souls. I remember the man who said, “Didn’t you understand we are all Christians?” I remember the small woman who told me to remember her in my heart and not on a picture. I remember the moment when that still small voice, asked, “Who will go for us?” and I replied, “Here I am, send me.” Live for the moments, keep the moments alive in your hearts. All of my moments with Karen are living in my heart, and I expect even greater moments to come, for God never disappoints. We are so very blessed, especially if we can remember the moments that have made us so.