As women, we're deeply impacted by these farewells. My friend's firstborn son is graduating from high school tomorrow and, as such, has been barraged with 'lasts' this month: "This is Josh's last day of high school; his final choir concert; the last time he'll drive his siblings to school." On and on it goes. Ironically, just as she was coming to terms with the season, a well-meaning friend at church piped up, "Hey, tonight's the last time your son will be here helping with Awana, right?" Sigh. Uh...thanks for pointing that out.
(By the way, I guess it's not just us females. As I'm writing this, my 22 yr-old son bounded out the front door grinning, "Hey, Mom, this is the last time I'll be heading up to my college apartment as a resident there!")
It's human nature to look in the rear view mirror, I guess. After all, the past is all we know. While there certainly could be a bright future ahead, it's completely uncharted; we can't fathom it. We have no understanding of it -- no point of reference. As a result I seem to focus only on what I can't have any more, instead of what's on the horizon. Only an omniscient God knows the future.
The Lord understands my predisposition to fixate on the "has beens." That's why He gently admonishes me to look out the front windshield when I insist on glancing backwards.
Song of Solomon, chapter 2:
"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land."
"This is what the Lord says—“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"
...and Philippians 4:13-14
"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
In one week I'll wind up thirty years of ministry alongside Dr. Dobson. I'll undoubtedly have moments of looking back -- and there's a place for that. But I'm keenly aware that after a time of poignant reflection, I'll need to brace my back to the wind and choose to squarely look ahead to the vast unwritten slate before me. I must ask, "What new thing are you doing, Lord? I want to be a part of it!"