I normally get off work around 5:00 pm, but yesterday I decided to clock out, shut my office door and work on the book I’m currently writing. My son, Trey, works as an evening Custodian (from 4:00 to 8:00) at the same Christian University I work for, so I figured I’d write for a few hours and then ride home with him.
I expected to get in the car, run through a drive-thru for a late supper and skedaddle, ASAP. I was tired and just wanted to get home, but Trey mentioned he needed to stop for gas. I asked him if he absolutely needed gas right then, and he told me he’d rather get it over with, since his mornings are sometimes rushed due to having to be up and out early to get to his college course. I felt a twinge of guilt for making a “thing” out of it and told him to go ahead and stop.
THEN the drive-thru at the Chinese restaurant was backed up around the corner.
More frustration. I stared at the car in front as if it would never move. We crawled forward, inch-by-inch, and I suddenly realized we were living that Weird Al song, “Trapped In The Drive-thru.”
All the while Trey sat silently, tapping his feet and drumming his hands to the music.
We finally got to order our food, but there must have been some kind of malfunction with the speaker system.
Trey asked for a side of spring rolls, but the lady responded, “What kind of rice?”
“No, SPRING ROLLS,” he replied.
“Sorry, WHAT kind of rice?” she asked again.
“Good grief,” I muttered, leaning over to the driver’s side. “SPRING ROLLS” I said a bit too loudly.
We finally got our food and was on our way home. Trey had went from being excited about me riding home with him (he loves it when I stay late and ride with him, since we normally crank the windows down and jam on whatever hard rock or heavy metal he happens to be in the mood for that night) to being very quiet.
I quickly examined myself. “Have I been rude to my son?” I wondered. Thinking back over it, I decided I had not.
But my fatigue and irritation with our minisclue delays was coming through, and it was painfully obvious. I had nearly spoiled the mood. I quickly recovered, because, thank God, my son is a very forgiving person.
“Hey,” I began, “sorry if I seem anxious or upset. I’m just tired. I love ya, bud.”
“I love you too, dad,” he smiled. At that moment the whole mood in the car shifted.
“Dad,” he said excitedly, “I wanna play you this song by Dream Theater. Man, I LOVE it. I’ve been jammin’ on it for days and I think it’s actually my new favorite song by them.”
“Go for it!” I said. Then when the music started, I yelled, “Crank it up!”
Even though it was chilly, we cracked the windows and turned up the volume. Once again, as with so many times in the past, the combination of the mesmerizing night sky, the fresh air and the music immediately sent a rush of excitement and adreneline through both of us.
At that very second the thought hit me:
“How many people would give everything they have for a moment like this with their son?“
I have friends whose children have died from disease, accident or suicide.
I have friends whose children moved far away, only to be seen once or twice a year.
I have friends whose children never want to see them again.
I have friends who are forbidden to see their own grandchildren.
How dare I blow this moment! Thank the Lord I recovered quickly, and was able to salvage the hour.
This is just a reminder to all reading this: don’t blow the moment because of your own frustrations, unmet expectations or fading aspirations.
My dad has taught me for years that, financially, we should plan as if we’re going to live to be 100 years old. Spiritually and emotionally, however, I would like to assert that we should live as if the world is ending at the stroke of midnight.
Because, for some, it just might.
Don’t ruin this moment. Savor it. Smile, laugh and love.
Just a thought.
Blessings, my friend.