Let me begin by saying that I don’t feel this old.
I took Lynda to Richmond International Airport this morning. She’s on her way to Israel for two weeks of visual learning. Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Palestinian territories. She’s going to see a lot and meet some very interesting people. I’m pretty sure she’ll be exhausted when she returns, but the last text I received indicated the trip is off to a great start. She said simply, “Upgraded to first class!” (Funny, this never happens when we fly together!)
This morning I was taking her to the airport and as I drove up the ramp marked “Departures” it hit me: Twenty-five years ago today I flew into Richmond for the first time.
Northminster’s pastor search committee wanted to hear me preach, so they flew me to Richmond. The first things I noticed as we landed were the tall pine trees and the sandy soil, which reminded me of my South Carolina home.
I had lived in Louisville for 12 years. And while there were many positive things about that phase of my life—discovering a life partner, having two children, receiving an excellent education—Kentucky always felt like a foreign country to me. Richmond, I would discover, feels like home.
I dug up some evidence that twenty-five years is a big chunk of time.
Lynda and I look at this picture and sigh, “That was several lives ago.” Life is lived in stages, which our children have marked for us. There’s the stage of life before you have children. Then there’s the infant, toddler and preschool stages. Elementary and middle school are stages. Learning not to lunge for the wheel while teaching your kid to drive is a stage of life. College, career, young adulthood, all stages. Sometime ago we took to referring to each stage as a life in and of itself. So we’ll say, “That happened three lives ago.”
Churches also have life stages. By my count, I’ve been around Northminster through six distinct stages. I may spell those out for you in a later entry.
For now, I’m pondering how fast time moves. And praying for help to savor each minute.
Here’s the fam about 25 years older. Hmmm, looks like I was a lot taller in 1986.