Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Final Countdown

First Day of Kindergarten...
First Day of having a Driver's License...
Last Day of High School...
First Day of College...
Last Day of College...
First REAL job...

More than likely these draw images to your mind, maybe some with a smile and some with a cringe. Either is ok...the point is change. Is it comfortable, is it uncomfortable?

Sometimes you know when the biggest days of your life are going to be and sometimes you never know until something dramatic happens that you'll always draw back to in times of reflection.

Back in college there was always the eager anticipation and anxiousness (and maybe nervousness if you weren't prepared) for the final exam of each semester. As soon as you slammed that test down on the prof's table you knew it was done, everything was behind you. There was a break to come, a transition time before a new set of classes shaped who you were for the next several months.

Anyways, I felt I always had to acknowledge the moment that was before me. I couldn't overlook the magnitude of having one more semester under my wing. I had to face it. Another step in the process was done. Tomorrow would bring another step. So, before my last exam of every semester, instead of cramming one more nugget of truth, I turned it up.

The Final Countdown...by Europe....as loud as it could go. The song fit the moment, and frankly, it got you ready to take the test like it was your opponent in the most bitter rivalry in all of sports. Not only did you have to beat your opponent, the test, but you had to destroy its' will, its' nature, and its' essence for existence. At least that's what I told myself...and it always seemed to work. The Final Countdown....most of the people I lived with followed suit in my pre-final ritual. In fact, I won't listen to the song unless it literally applies to a real countdown.

Everyone comes to grips with the finality of something in their own way. Same goes for new beginnings. Some ignore, some fret, some just sit back and soak it up. I like to acknowledge and enjoy the moments before they come into place.

Marriage, most would say that has a certain finality to it, although not enough people seem to agree based on divorce statistics. I have 11 more days until my single buddies can say "another one bites the dust" and my married friends say "welcome to the club." Most of those days will be busy...jam packed full of ministry, prep, and who knows what.

I tell Michelle it's my house, even as she adds her own clutter to my once perfect bachelor home, because it is. Someday it will be ours. In the next 11 days I may have anywhere between one and five partial evenings to myself. Those moments represent the realness of my current state of being--singleness. Those moments will never come again....sure I'll have a night to myself now and then when I'm married, but it won't be the same.

So, I don't want to ignore the moment or fret over the "last days." I want to acknowledge it like I acknowledged the last exam of the semester when I brought The Final Countdown into ritualistic form.

How do you handle the beginning of the end?
What do you do in those moments prior to the inevitable changes?
How will you look back at those moments...with regret or fondness?

Regret is no way to remember the unfulfillment of these moments. You have to soak them up, and not sip them like they're some overpriced filthy latte from Starbucks that never gets finished because you run out of time. Isn't it better to soak it all up and have time left then to try and chug it all at the last moment.

(Granted I wouldn't advise anyone to drink Starbucks or any latte at any moment in the history of mankind...seems like a waste of $6 to me....I could get a 5 for $5.95 at Arby's for that price...or pump it into my IRA so I'll have extra money to fly Micah down to my Florida abode because he's broke from 300 starbucks a year, translating into over $100,000 in the next 50 plus years (not including inflation) while I turned that same $6 a day it into a cool $3,000,000.)

I have a point somewhere in this post. I hope you could find it. If it feels unfinished then maybe it is. I know my conclusion even if you can't figure it out.

I think it's that I need to play loud music, lots of it. I need to get the Led out (Zeppelin that is). The Final Countdown is coming....and then it's not always going to be "convenient" when I want to get the Led out at any random hour of the day.

You see, women can't handle that much rock, unless it's on their finger, dug up by some slave in a diamond mine in Sierra Leonne (Kanye was right...Diamonds are forever) and manufactured by corporate America, which, unexplicably, they can never get enough of. They like that kinda rock.

The Final Countdown has begun...I will acknowledge this...and go home to do several things.
1. Never navigate away from a TV channel that doesn't have sports as its primary focus.
2. Turn it up, just like Lynyrd says too and thus test the quality of the hearing aids of my elderly neighbors.
3. Put that 8 foot 1991 NBA Championship Bulls poster up on the wall while I still can. Michelle will love that....I think it will look good above the couch, so it's the first thing people see when they enter my home. Yeah, I think Michelle will like that.


Adam and Becca said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paula, Bobby, and Rebekah said...

Phil and Michelle,

You'll love it. Marriage is wonderful, especially the first few years when you still see each other.
WE'll see you at the wedding!!

Micah Dormann said...

well i'm not sure how to respond because i was just told i'm going to be poor but well at least people like me...hahaha phil you're awesome man i'm excited about your wedding!!! I pray for you and michille and I know God has big things instore for you two as a couple in ministry! see ya soon