The other night Mrs. Freeman and I were sitting on the couch watching some television and Mrs. Freeman suddenly looked at me and asked, “Has it hit you yet that our daughter just clicked the ‘submit’ button on her application to serve as a missionary?”
For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this thing that Mrs. Freeman was referring to was indeed a big deal. It means that she is almost 19 years old and that what will follow as a result of her application being submitted is that in a couple of weeks our daughter will receive an email that will include her formal call to a specific place in the world (it could be almost literally anywhere!) where she will serve for an expected period of 18 months. That’s 18 months of serving amongst strangers in a strange land, maybe learning a strange language, eating strange food, and living with a stranger as a 24-hour companion.
While the question triggered an involuntary emotional reaction with Mrs. Freeman, I let out a disbelieving laugh that caught her off guard. Since my reaction seemed like a completely inappropriate response to the tone of the conversation that we were having, Mrs. Freeman struggled to hide her disappointment and shock.
“Why did I laugh at her question?” you might be asking yourself. Let me explain myself to you as I quickly did to Mrs. Freeman (before she threw something at me). The simple answer is because in that moment I had my own involuntary emotional reaction as I came to the conclusion that nothing has hit me yet. How am I sitting in the year 2020? How can Taco Bell drop the Mexican Pizza completely off the menu? How am I a 45-year-old man still listening to Dre like it’s Friday night circa 1992? How did my little girl graduate high school, move out of the house to go to COLLEGE, and vote in a Presidential election? When did my youngest child, my wing man, get his driver’s license and start going out on Taco Bell runs with girls at midnight? How did we lose my stepdad to Non-Hodgkins B-Cell Lymphoma 11 YEARS AGO? How are my ageless grandparents now not so ageless? How is my younger brother a grandpa?
There’s the other side of the coin too…How did this guy, Mike Freeman, convince this amazing beautiful woman to hitch her wagon to me forever? How do we have the life that we have blessed with family, friends, and faith? How did this guy slay the Goliaths of his past? How are people driving 100% electric cars and passing me on the highway? How are my friends’ kids getting married? How are my former students getting married and sending their kids to school? How did the Cubs actually win a World Series 4 YEARS AGO?
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a Rip Van Winkle sleeping through life thing. I actually am trying to be intentional these days, trying to stay awake and be the driver in my life, not drifting asleep at the wheel. Working with my best friend to host a blog and a podcast called the Richest Men In Town kind of forces me to be paying attention and take my own advice.
I wish I had a better reference but the older I get, the more I realize just how spot on right Ferris Bueller was when he said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.”
So to answer your question, Mrs. Freeman, no, it hasn’t hit me yet. Maybe it will hit me tomorrow.