by Charles R. Swindoll
SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, things are going to be a lot different. The garage won’t be full of bikes, electric train tracks on plywood, sawhorses surrounded by chunks of two-by-fours, nails, a hammer and saw, unfinished “experimental projects,” and the rabbit cage. I’ll be able to park both cars neatly in just the right places, and never again stumble over skateboards, a pile of papers (saved for the school fund drive), or the bag of rabbit food—now split and spilled. Ugh!
SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, the kitchen will be incredibly neat. The sink will be free of sticky dishes, the garbage disposal won’t get choked on rubber bands or paper cups, the refrigerator won’t be clogged with nine bottles of milk, and we won’t lose the tops to jelly jars, catsup bottles, the peanut butter, the margarine, or the mustard. The water jar won’t be put back empty, the ice trays won’t be left out overnight, the blender won’t stand for six hours coated with the remains of a midnight malt, and the honey will stay inside the container.
SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, my lovely wife will actually have time to get dressed leisurely. A long, hot bath (without three panic interruptions), time to do her nails (even toenails if she pleases!) without answering a dozen questions and reviewing spelling words, having had her hair done that afternoon without trying to squeeze it in between racing a sick dog to the vet and a trip to the orthodontist with a kid in a bad mood because she lost her headgear.
SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, the instrument called a “telephone” will actually be available. It won’t look like it’s growing from a teenager’s ear. It will simply hang there . . . silently and amazingly available! It will be free of lipstick, human saliva, mayonnaise, corn chip crumbs, and toothpicks stuck in those little holes.
SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, I’ll be able to see through the car windows. Fingerprints, tongue licks, sneaker footprints, and dog tracks (nobody knows how) will be conspicuous by their absence. The back seat won’t be a disaster area, we won’t sit on jacks or crayons anymore, the tank will not always be somewhere between empty and fumes, and (glory to God!) I won’t have to clean up dog messes another time.
SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, we will return to normal conversations. You know, just plain American talk. “Gross” won’t punctuate every sentence seven times. “Yuk!” will not be heard. “Hurry up, I gotta go!” will not accompany the banging of fists on the bathroom door. “It’s my turn” won’t call for a referee. And a magazine article will be read in full without interruption, then discussed at length without mom and dad having to hide in the attic to finish the conversation.
SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, we won’t run out of toilet tissue. My wife won’t lose her keys. We won’t forget to shut the refrigerator door. I won’t have to dream up new ways of diverting attention from the gumball machine . . . or have to answer “Daddy, is it a sin that you’re driving forty-seven in a thirty-mile-per-hour zone?” . . . or promise to kiss the rabbit goodnight . . . or wait up forever until they get home from dates . . . or have to take a number to get a word in at the supper table . . . or endure the pious pounding of one Keith Green just below the level of acute pain.
Yes, someday when the kids are grown, things are going to be a lot different. One by one they’ll leave our nest, and the place will begin to resemble order and maybe even a touch of elegance. The clink of china and silver will be heard on occasion. The crackling of the fireplace will echo through the hallway. The phone will be strangely silent. The house will be quiet . . . and calm . . . and always clean . . . and empty . . . and filled with memories . . . and lonely . . . and we won’t like that at all. And we’ll spend our time not looking forward to Someday but looking back to Yesterday. And thinking, “Maybe we can babysit the grandkids and get some life back in this place for a change!”
Could it be that the apostle Paul had some of this in mind when he wrote:
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. (Philippians 4:11)
Maybe so. But then again, chances are good Paul never had to clean up many dog messes.
Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.