Lasts: By Karen Lindberg
It seems as though I keep hearing the word “last” everywhere I turn. Social media is posted with pictures of senior “last first day of school photos”, we post as seniors play their “last” football or basketball game, we mourn as we face the start of school and the “last day of summer”, some of us have even faced our “last” conversation with someone we loved. “Lasts” are hard, “lasts” make us realize the lightning speed in which time moves and the reality that our days are passing by so very quickly. “Lasts” can settle in like a dark storm cloud over us as we come to terms with our children growing up right before our eyes and we promise to “soak in every single fleeting moment”. “Lasts” are sad, almost like a pre-grief stage that we pass through. “Lasts” have a way of stealing our joy even when we are least expecting it.
I spent some time thinking about this as I processed that in March we watched Mac possibly play her “last” volleyball game. Her team finished regionals and I hugged her on the court, not knowing it was most likely her last time on the volleyball court. You see, Mac made the courageous decision to switch courts and leave behind the volleyball court for the joy and promise of the tennis court and joined the high school tennis team. Likewise, in March of 2020 we hugged Nash as he finished his final MAYB tournament of the season and walked out the door having no idea we had just witnessed the last time we would ever see him play basketball. Another “last” in their young lives had passed, and we weren’t aware of either in the moment.
“Lasts”…sometimes we know they are coming and sometimes we see that only with hindsight. Regardless, they tend to always make us take pause and wish we would have done things differently. How often do we reflect and think “if only I would have known it was the last time”. We think about what we would have done differently, what we would have said, what we would have cherished, what we would have burned into our brains about that exact moment had we known it would be the last.
I was driving this morning and thinking about the “lasts” that we have faced and the ones that our friends are facing with their kids heading into their senior year and it occurred to me that I was leaving out the greatest moment of a “last” – it is always followed by a FIRST! In March we watched Mac’s last volleyball tournament but tomorrow I get to watch her FIRST tennis tournament as a Great Bend Panther. In March of 2020 we watched Nash’s last basketball tournament but since then we have had the privilege of witnessing so many FIRSTS from him…from his FIRST steps after tragedy to his FIRST golf tournament as a Great Bend Panther. As our dear friends process the graduation of their seniors, they will quickly get to celebrate their FIRST days of college. Even in the last moments with my father, they were followed by his FIRST moments in Heaven…what could be better than that!
So, as you face the inevitable “lasts”….when your heart starts to ache and it feels like sadness is winning, I hope you will pause to think about the FIRST that is surely waiting right around the corner for you! THE BEST IS YET TO COME! Here’s to the goodness waiting ahead and the promise that your next FIRST holds!