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The grandson, of a lady I know, has to take annual physicals at M.D. Anderson. It is a world-renowned hospital in Houston that specializes in cancer. Her grandson, Sean, is an adult now, but has been taking these physicals since childhood.

She related this story: “He confessed it is always a stressful experience, to go for that physical—hoping and praying that his cancer is not back. Once when he was sitting in the hospital waiting room for his next test, he noticed a father and his little two-year-old girl. The little girl had a brain tumor and was receiving treatment. The prognosis was grim. Sean and the dad talked, and Sean tried to give the dad hope for his little girl because Sean too had had cancer as a child. Sean told the dad what he had learned from his own struggle surviving cancer. The dad said to Sean, ‘I too have learned from this.’ He said, ‘Enjoy the moments. They are all you really know you have. Your inbox will always be full. There will always be something to do tomorrow, but enjoy today’s moments.’”

“Enjoy the moments. They are all you really know you have.”

Truth, powerful truth.

Life is filled with busyness. Parenting is filled with busyness. Single parenting is amplified busyness. Seems that few escape the busyness without determination.

Life can change quickly. Ask anyone who has received a diagnosis of cancer. The late night phone call telling you that a family member has died in an auto accident or, like a friend of mine, the phone call that came telling her that her brother had been murdered. Life can change quickly.

I remember receiving the phone call from my mom to come home quickly. I had been discharged from the Navy about a month earlier and had moved my wife and young son to another state to start college. The call was a shock, a game-changer. My relationship with my dad had not been a good one for many years and but had recently taken a turn for the better. I was stunned. I thought my dad would live for a long, long time. That was not to the case. I drove the eight hours or so back to Fort Worth and went straight to the hospital to learn there was little hope for my dad. Metastasized lung cancer was the diagnosis. I remembered what he had told us on a previous visit, he cried and apologized for “putting (us) through this.” I cried too. Dad lived about another month.

You don’t have two chances to raise your child. There are no “do-overs.” Parenting is not a “dress rehearsal.” Embrace the moments. Enjoy the moments. Life can change quickly and it often does.

A man I know once observed that one of the important things in life is the point at which you “hear the clock ticking.” Knowing that there will come a time when the last seconds count down in our lives: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. Game over. Embrace the moments. Enjoy the moments. They do not return.

Life can feel overwhelming. Life can be over whelming. Isolation can make it seems insurmountable. Surround yourself with family and friends who will walk with you, remind you, instruct you and remember to thank them for it.

Our six children are grown. Yours will be one day too. Embrace the moments. Enjoy the moments. Thank God for those moments. They all come to an end.