Last night we went to see Elton John and Billy Joel at Nationwide Arena. We had center aisle tickets three rows from the stage and other than the fact that my ears are still ringing, it was an awesome concert. Today I am poignantly melancholy as I reflect on last night’s experience. I have always liked Elton John’s music and when he played Funeral For A Friend and Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, I was instantly catapulted back 35 years to another world of space and time. I listened to those two songs over and over my senior year in college during a time that was very difficult for me. I had broken off an engagement and was heartsick about it. Who would have thought that 35 years later I would be standing about 50 feet from the man who wrote those songs, watching him perform them, and many others that I loved?
It got me thinking about how quickly time passes and how much I have lost (and gained) over those years. It reminded me of how important it is to stay firmly rooted in God because he is the only constant we have in this life. My life was very different 35 years ago than it is now. A good many people whom I loved are now gone and I miss them terribly. I miss my old mates (but am thankful for my current ones). I miss the days when I was younger, when I didn’t have to worry about my health or approaching old age and infirmity, when I was a young teacher working hard at my calling, and when I had an innocence about me that has long since gone. But this is called “life” and I need to get over it.
The challenge for me personally—and judging from the large amount of fellow geezers at last night’s concert I would say I am not alone in this—is to find the blessings in the current day and time, and not grieve too much over that which I have lost. I realized again last night that my time is passing by way too quickly and that I need to make the most out of the time I have left. Since I’ve retired from education, I’ve been frankly lousy at doing that and I pray to God to help me do what he calls me to do before it is too late.
I have watched my grandparents’ generation die and most of my parents’ generation. My generation is next and the music last night reminded me that our time goes by more quickly than most of us realize; I do not have an infinite amount of time left. I cannot live in the past nor can that which I have lost be returned. I need to keep my eye on the prize of Christ and use the gifts God provides me here and now. That won’t happen without his grace and presence in my life.
Thank you Elton John and Billy Joel for your music and putting on a fantastic show last night (it lasted over 3.5 hours!). Thank you Michelle and June for those awesome tickets. Thank you Toots for putting up with my ill disposition before the show. Thank you, my God for your great and manifold blessings in our lives, and especially for the promise that someday the most important things and people we have lost will once again be restored. Best of all, we will get to live in your Presence forever. Nothing in this world can ever come close to matching that, not even once-in-a-lifetime seats at an awesome concert.