Believe it or not there is another countdown I’m keeping track of. In fact my kids teased me about it today. I almost posted the cartoon they sent me. In it there is a man marking off days on a calendar with a big X. His wife is standing next to him and asks, “Counting down to Christmas?” to which the man replies, “No… Star Wars”. I admit, I’m a huge Star Wars fan and I can’t wait until the seventh installment opens on December 17th! I might have bought tickets the first day they were available! A bunch of you are cheering for me right now, but I suspect some of you are wondering why you’ve so faithfully been reading anything I would have to say… and I can’t blame you. But I also can’t help myself. I’ve been a Star Wars fan since the year it came out (which was 1977).
Now, it’s turned into a tradition in our family. In fact when the fourth movie, which was actually chapter one of the storyline released (if that doesn’t make sense to you, grab a Star Wars junkie and let them explain it – you’ll know who they are because they say dumb things like, “May the force be with you”… or “Very unenlightened you are”), it had been 16 years since the release of the third movie (1983 – 1999). So to say fans were starving for a light saber battle or a Jedi mind trick is a gross understatement. I was no exception. Please don’t think too poorly of me… I took my seventh grade daughter, Krista, out of school the day it opened and had her wait in line at the movie theater so we’d have tickets for the premier showing. It was an amazing day and a sweet memory for my kids of watching Star Wars with dad.
But the truth is, and the point of the story is (besides getting to write about Obi Wan Kenobi & Princess Leia), my kids really didn’t think the movie that day was all that great. They probably don’t even remember the movie and the special effects. What they do remember is we did something special together as a family. I don’t know what math problems Krista missed that day in school, but I guarantee you, they weren’t as important as the memories we created that day.
That’s how I feel about so much of this journey with Justus’. I’m not sure what parts of it we’ll remember. I know I’m going to try hard to forget some portions of it. But one thing I know I will never forget, are the memories we made as a family, and the memories we made with #TeamJustus. God’s sovereignty will determine what ultimately happens to Justus; but I believe God gave all of us the free will to choose how we would journey through it. I’m so grateful for the thousands that chose to be a part of our online family these last 111 days! Humbling, doesn’t even begin to express how we feel. I’m also eternally thankful for my family and the onsite team that gave so much to help divide the struggle of those early days.
One day we will look back fondly on many of those times we sat in the waiting room and cried and laughed and prayed and ate and slept and stared and waited and paced and cried and ate some more. Being together with the people you love, whether to watch the premier of a movie or weather a storm, is what’s important in life. I know I speak for my entire family when I say, we’ve learned to never take that for granted. My wish for you is to learn that lesson from us. We are entering the holiday season. For some of you this is a really hard time because you’ve recently experienced a loss or because of a current family situation. If that is you, then please know our prayers go out to you. For the rest of you, can I challenge you to do whatever you have to do in order to value those important relationships in your life… even if it means counting down to the premier of a movie!
Which by the way is 29! 29 days until opening day of Star Wars. Our family will be there, some probably in costume. I know I’ll love the movie. I’m guessing at least some of my children will really enjoy it. But I know they will all LOVE the memories we will make. Make some memories this Christmas season. And thank-you for all of the prayers that have led to the anticipation of our special Thanksgiving homecoming and a blessed Christmas day. And to end, join me as we count down the really important countdown… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6!