So for those of you who don’t follow me on other forms of Social Media let me enlighten you as to my activities for the last five days. Last Thursday my wife and son left on a trip to visit a close family friend, leaving me and my daughter to fend for ourselves for five days. Although this might be a daunting dilemma for a lot of dads I was looking forward to our time together. The best part about it was that the weather was uncharacteristically warm and so we were able to fill our days with various outdoor activities and ice cream (you know a daddy has to spoil his daughter). But one of the main motivations behind our busyness was to somehow distract ourselves from the longing for mommy and brother. And for the most part we were successful, but there were still times where their absence was overwhelmingly evident.
Now for the most part we attempted to fill our time with things that were good. We went on bike rides, runs in the park, visits to playgrounds, etc. But then there were other times when we would just veg out in front of the TV or waste time in some other fashion. But the most rewarding time was the time spent in preparation for my wife and son’s return. Whether it was doing special projects around the house, cleaning, or even taking a bit more time in shaving…well, these became the most fulfilling. Why? Because the longing we have for my family to be complete can only be cured by their presence and so the anticipatory activities planned for their arrival become the best use of our time apart.
This reminds me of a passage out of Ephesians 5:15-16, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” It’s important to define the word evil as spelled out in the Greek text here. The word is ponēros which is probably best defined as pressing, hard, difficult. The apostle Paul, in speaking of our days on this earth, defines them as hard, difficult, pressing, filled with longing. And what are we supposed to do to redeem them? By making the most of every opportunity! Sure we could fill our days with activities that just busy ourselves to distract us from the fact that God’s Kingdom is still to come. Or maybe we could fill our days in the anticipatory activity of bringing God’s Kingdom to Earth. Maybe each moment is an opportunity for redemption as we await the return of the Bride Groom.
The one thing my family’s separation has taught me is that longing affords us a choice. What choice will you make today?