Just so we’re clear, we’ve had our two adult sons living with us for quite a while now. After each of them finished their master’s degrees in 2014, and then when I took the Northeast District of our church, and Cheri and I bought a home in Fargo, the boys (well, men, but we call them the boys) moved in downstairs as a transitional period. Adam, with his masters, secured a job, and then switched to another one that at least pays pretty well. Aaron went back to school here in Fargo and earned his PhD in communications, and spent the better part of a year trying to get a faculty position. When CoVid hit, the entire post-secondary education system shut down across the country, and with it went prospects for a position. He has now switched to seeking something in industry somewhere, but you know as well as I that most companies have been in suspended animation in terms of new hires, although it’s starting to come back, both there and in the university systems. In fact, he had an on-line interview today, with an historically black college in Tennessee. We’ll see where that leads.
All this has meant that for the last six years in our home, there have been four of us, with the three cats, of course. Some might say, “Oh, I’m so sorry! It must be hard…” but the truth is, both Cheri and I frequently express the fact that this has been a huge blessing for us both. To have such close contact with our adult sons has really been a lot of fun, and allowed us to experience our lives and our relationships in way we never dreamed we could. Sure, the time will come, now sooner than later, with things opening up, when moving vans will haul things off in two directions, and the nest will be empty, but that chapter of our lives will happen when it happens.
In the meantime, life is still happening, and one thing that is going to occur is the sons’ annual trip to Las Vegas. Since probably 2010, they have lined up things, gotten the plane tickets, and usually for somebody’s spring break, they would fly their way to the Nevada desert, and live high on the hog for about three or four days. Now, they don’t do anything illegal (although granted, in Las Vegas, that takes you a long ways…), but they always get a nice room, find some great restaurants, and even spend some time in the various “lobbies” of the hotels, doing what they can to help out the Las Vegas economy. They always have a great time, and it’s become that important time for the two of them. This year they are staying at Caesar’s Palace, so if you see them there, say hi to them.
Here’s the thing: when I say annual, of course I meant yearly – except for last year. Almost to the week, and even to the weekend they were going to travel in Spring 2020, the word came that due to the pandemic, Las Vegas was shutting down. Adam calculates that, had they gone, they would have had one day that was normal, and then have three more days of sitting in their hotel room, with nothing to see or do. They pulled the plug about three days before they were scheduled to leave, and Adam was able to get refunds or vouchers for future stuff for all they had planned.
Close to a month ago, then, Adam started doing his research – he’s the travel agent for the two of them, as Aaron is the happy and appreciative travel partner – and soon it happened that Las Vegas ’21 was in business. Plane tickets, limo ride, hotel accommodations and other odds and ends, like massages and such are all planned and paid for. They leave this morning, and won’t be back until next Tuesday. You can nearly feel the magic in the air – Adam even took the day before the day after the trip off as his vacation time. What’s also interesting is that Adam wasn’t able to use all his vouchers, especially the plane ticket ones, so although Vegas ’21 happens today, there will be another Vegas ’21 – part 2 – that they are already scheduling for some time in August. Cheri and I say to go for it, and have a great time.
Of course, another dynamic in all of this is that starting this morning until Tuesday, then entire house belongs to my wife and me. That’s a rare occurrence, and one we haven’t had for two years. Now, I know that may mean that Cheri will want to clean and fix up things, but I’m hoping I can talk her into just relaxing and enjoying the two of us --- maybe even fixing some meals that just the two of us like, and have also had to postpone as part of the meal lineup. We can just view it as an empty nest preview. It should be very nice.
All families go through times when things are settled, and then times when a new arrangement seems to be unfolding. It’s always helpful, and perhaps even necessary, to approach the changing time with a good helping of intentionality. Actually, each day should have that recipe, since we really don’t know when change may occur, whether just for a weekend, or for the rest of our lives. We, as a family, will be in two different places, but my hope is that we all will enjoy and find happiness in what we do, in the special month of May. I hope the same for you…
Word for the day: agelast. Pronounced AJ-uh-last. It has nothing to do with getting older or having anything stay around. It’s from the Greek agelastos, which means “grave, or gloomy” – the Greek verb that is all arises from is gelaein, which of course we all know is “to laugh.” When you put an “a” in front of a verb, you make it the opposite. “Gelastic” is to provoke laughter, so an agelast is someone who never laughs. They are just not fun to be around – sticks in the mud, Debbie Downers or whatever. So, turn that frown upside down, and laugh a little, ok?
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.