Beliefnet
Cut the Crap Spirituality

I remember when I was in high school, I used to listen to Harry Chapin’s song “Cat’s in the Cradle” and contemplate that I don’t want that to be me: “I don’t want to be too busy to enjoy my family.”

The lyrics of the song tell a familiar story:

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, dad
You know I’m gonna be like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, dad; come on, let’s play
Can you teach me to throw?”
I said, “Not today, I got a lot to do.”
He said, “That’s okay.”
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man, I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you. Can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
“What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later; can I have them please?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then, dad
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

I’ve long since retired, and my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you.”
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

I use that song often to remind me to soak up ever minute with my kids – To not look for tomorrow, but to live today. It’s not easy, but I’m glad I have my reminders.

Another reminder is advice from my old boss who didn’t say much, but I’ll never forget his advice: “Life goes by really fast – Don’t miss out on your kids.” Remember – “Life is what happens when you are planning for it.” He told me stories over and over of dad’s regretting missing out on their kids lives. He was my boss. He wasn’t worried about my work life. We as worried about me missing life because of my work life. I’m so grateful for his advice.

So simple, but yet so hard. And yet so important.

The present is all there is – don’t miss it looking forward. The present is all there is – Don’t miss it by looking back.

Thank you Harry Chapin for that Wonderful Song. Thank you to everyone for the reminders – They are so important.

So simple, so hard, but yet so important. Let’s all keep reminding each other.

DON’T MISS OUT ON LIFE BY NOT BEING – IN THE PRESENT – It’s ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS.

Timothy Velner is a husband, father, attorney and author living in Minneapolis. You can follow his daily blog – a series of discussions between the worry-self and the present-self at – thespiritualgym.me

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