A Look At ‘Last Times’

Within the past few weeks, I have seen a post on various social media venues.  The statement is so relevant to the year end.  That was where my initial though process ended up going anyhow.  I have no idea about who may be the original author, so I don’t know who to credit it to; but it is a very profound statement.  It goes like this, “At some time in your childhood, you and your friends went outside to play together for the last time, and none of you knew it.”  I think that not only applies to childhood, but to last times in general.

Some of those are not “forever” goodbyes, some of them are just moving on in life goodbyes.  With the new year upon us, one of those “childhood” last times for me, as a sixteen year old, was New Year’s Eve of 1976.  My childhood best friend and I were baby sitting for her nephews (probably plus a few) at their house.  This is the self-same friend that sent the post that inspired the “Blue Eyes” blog! We had been friends pretty much since we were born, and we didn’t haven any clue that we would soon be headed down the paths of our lives without each other.

Our evening was spent just hanging out, talking to friends on the phone, munching on junk food and listening to the radio.  The show on that radio would have been, “Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 Year-End Countdown – 1976.”   The times they were definitely a changing, as the artists and the types of music present in that particular countdown would represent.  Music, in general, that year was a mix of diverse sound.  I just grabbed a few from the bottom to the top as an example:

#100: Country Boy by Glen Campbell
#75: Let Her In by John Travolta
#50: Show Me the Way by Peter Frampton
#25: Take it To The Limit by the Eagles
#1: Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney & Wings

Ah  yes, the air was filled with change that night.  We had no warning; we couldn’t see it or feel it, but change was there.  That night would be the last time that the two of us would get to spend New Year’s Eve together in the same easy, innocent, uncomplicated way.  At the end of that school year, I would move away and never really get back to that same place; because you can never have a friend in life like your first childhood playmate.  She and I stay in touch and it is still special; but not the same as if we had been able to continue walking it together.

Then there are those times that are truly the last time.  As I sit and write this, today, so very, very close to the new year, is an anniversary of another “last.”  My dad passed on to his forever home on this day eighteen years ago.  I guess there are way too many “last times” spent with him to even start there.  But going on the theme of that quote’s “going out to play,” I’ll remember a happy, fun, sunny (warm) memory — especially since the thermometer is getting ready to teeter down toward zero here to ring in 2018 in the next couple of days!

This last time is, in fact, actually also a first time.  It was our first and last beach trip together as a family, the whole family!  My sister-in-law and I had found this bed and breakfast in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina called, The Chesterfield Inn.  It was a Colonial/plantation style hotel that sat right on the beach.  There was a wide veranda with rocking chairs so you could sit and watch the ocean roll by.  It was not the newest place around; it was quite old actually (1944-2012); but it was clean and cozy and the feeling you got when you were there was amazing!  It was a little slice of southern warmth in the middle of the craziness of the Myrtle Beach strip! They served breakfast and dinner in a dining room that had one wall that had windows facing the ocean.  The staff felt like family and they made you feel special and like you were home.

We never did beach trips when we were children, so this particular beach trip when we were adults was quite special.  There were the ten of us (with one of us being a three month old!)  We met my cousin and her husband and one of her friends there.  It was a week of firsts…first time at the beach for my mom, first time at the beach as a family, first time at the beach for the new three month old grand daughter.  Hilariously, it was the first time a sainted someone was heard to utter an ugly word after they climbed off a ride they had been tricked into that rocked their world!  The memories we made that week will always be special and we talk about them frequently.  But how were we to know that it would be our last time for a beach trip all together?

So many memories kind of hitting at this time of year.  Our Jazzercise gang got together this week for our annual holiday gathering.  (Let me remind you, we all met while working out, but we do not work out together any longer; and I’m not sure how many of us actually work out at all!  None the less, we are still the Jazzercise gang!)  With the addition of husbands and children, there are no longer trips to Mexico and very few weekends away, but we do manage to get together for birthdays three or four times a year and then again with our annual holiday gathering.  I missed the gathering last year, or I would have had then that first sensation of heavy-heartedness within our festivities that I had this year.  There was one place missing because of the flu. (Missed you Sonya!!)  Then there was one place that was sadly empty because it will not ever be filled again.

Oh my goodness!  Our Stella was so much fun and she had such a kind heart and loved everyone.  I remember the last time that we talked. It was on the phone and she was having a really hard time.  I tried to get her to come and stay with mom and I for a few days, but she didn’t.  I just wish I would have, could have, done more, done something.  She just could not make it through the physical and emotion pain any longer.   I knew that she was in pain, but never did I dream of that phone call being that last time.  She is loved and she is missed.

I could go on and on about last times.  I think we all could.  But there will come a time when we all have our last time. There will be a last time to spend with family that we love.  There will be the last time to enjoy our friends.  There will be a last time to participate in the hobbies and activities that consume our lives.  There will be a last time to view the beauty that surrounds us in this world.  The thing is, what will the last time for us mean?  What will we leave behind for someone else to remember?  What lasting effect will we have on those around us?

As we lift the lid and take a peek into the new year, what do we see?  Is there a certainty within your heart of your eternity after your last time?  That is a pretty important confidence to have.  I have that confidence and I have that faith.  It is the confidence that my future rests in the promise of Jesus Christ.  I pray that your future rests there also!

I wish you a Happy New Year and a successful and blessed 2018!

~~~~~~

There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.  (Acts 4:12)

 

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