It was November 27, 1969, in Starkville, Mississippi — Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State. I was eight years old, and at my Dad’s side watching Archie Manning and the Rebels beat the bulldogs 48-22. It was a cold, rainy day, but it didn’t seem to matter in light of Ole Miss’s victory. One of my vivid recollections from that day was when Archie retreated from the field to the tunnel near our seats; I hollered down at him, and was blown away when Archie looked up at me and smiled.
My eight-year-old heart almost came out of my chest!
When I think back to that day, I can almost feel my father’s arm around me just as it was in 1969 as we made our way through the crowd. It was one of those firm, ‘this way, son’ hugs that are both annoying and reassuring to an eight-year-old at the same time. I’ve been to many games since, but I’ll never forget that one.
Flash-forward with me 40 years, when Ole Miss lined up to play Vanderbilt in Nashville. There we were again, Dad and me together to watch the Rebels play. We’ve shared many games through the years, but this time it felt different to me, as I realized something was happening before my eyes:
The seasons are changing.
You see, this time, I got the tickets, navigated the traffic through the parking lot, sprung for the concessions, and bought the program. I’m grateful that Dad is still in good health and as sharp as ever, but I found myself helping him up the bleachers and making sure he was okay as he went to the concession stand. I followed him to the restroom when the game was over and stayed with him until he was ready to walk to the car.
The Rebels won, so the ride home was pleasant enough, but I found myself reflecting on the night with the realization that my life has moved into a new season–one in which I will provide the kind of care for my parents that they so lovingly gave to me.
And my 48-year-old heart almost jumped out of my chest.
Lessons learned in all of this?
In a nutshell, we are to focus on the now, because no joy will be so great that there won’t be sorrow later; no trouble today will be so devastating that joy won’t come in the morning. Quite frankly, all of this is just temporary — the real point of life will happen when we all are with Jesus forever.
So why don’t you and I look at ministry and the life that is happening around us and realize no matter what it is like now, it will change? And that the only eternal reality is that we serve a God who does not change and who promises the grace we will need to move through the seasons of life.
Directory, LifeWay Worship