I can rarely make it through an hour long massage without feeling some twinge of sadness.
It's the part where Laurie, my therapist, makes me roll over and lay on my back so she can begin working on my legs. I tell you... this is the worst feeling in the world.
I try not to look at her little clock hidden away on a shelf, but I know it's there. Counting down the minutes in a dull red light. All of a sudden the little calming fountain just sounds like running bath water and the Asian meditation music seems fake and I know this is all a scam. She's kicking me out. In about 15 minutes she will finish the front half of my body in record time, turn those awful lights on, and kick me back out to the street, back to the real world.
So actually, we should only have to pay for 45 minute massages. The last 15 minutes, after the awkward don't-see-my-naked-body flip onto your back, is just a slow crushing blow easing us back into reality. The end is near. It really gets me every time.
There are other times I feel this way too.
Pedicures. I fully indulge in the little heaters drying my feet. I want to be there as long as possible. OK, mostly because I want to feel like I got my money's worth, but also because I just don't want to get back in the car. Not yet. Please let me inhale nail polish fumes just a little longer.
Football season. Playoffs start and while they are exciting, I know what they mean. They mean pretty soon it will be months before I hear Joe Buck, Troy, Terry, Jimmy, or Howie. The closer we get to the SuperBowl, the more depressed I begin to feel. What in the world will I do on Sunday afternoons? Monday nights? What will the sports radio station possibly find interesting enough to talk about for the next 6 months? I feel a marginal degree of sadness with each passing January day. Football season is over. Now what?
The list goes on and on. And yes, it mainly remains shallow and temporary. The last few bites of a good meal. I mean, how many ways can you try and preserve a bite of enchilada or a cupcake??? The last few songs being played at a wedding always happen when you are just beginning to let loose and dance the night away. A first kiss. Or second. Or third. You just want to bottle it up. You don't want the kiss to go on indefinitely, as this would be a terribly long kiss, but you want to hold onto that feeling and that moment forever. The end of a great vacation. Sticking your toes deep in the sand and feeling the waves creep up around your ankles and wanting to stay forever, but knowing that little plane is just waiting... waiting to take you back to reality.
And there are not so shallow moments. Watching someone you love die. Knowing that it is best for them to go, but clinging so desperately to those last few weeks or moments. Sharing good conversation, so deep and inspiring that you hate for that cup of coffee in between the two of you to run out. Serving others. In a different country or at home, really pouring yourself out and wondering what it would be like to quit your real job just so you can work in a soup kitchen or hold babies in an orphanage or play ball with some rough around the edges inner city kids. Serving others and knowing that those moments, that mission trip, that weekend event, that moment in time where the world revolves around something so much greater is coming to an end for you. You know those moments you just don't want to see pass?
And of course an incredible time of worship does the same thing.
Last night I sat in the American Airlines center with close to 20,000 other people and I worshipped. For the first time on this tour I didn't have to worry about going into labor or prolonging my stamina by keeping my feet up above my head in some back room. I wasn't shuttled to a hotel and no one was watching when I stayed on the side of the stage afterwards to take pictures with people. Last night, being my last night of the tour, I had freedom just to do my thing... so I did.
With 20,000 other people in a sold out arena that I have only ever seen Shaquille O'Neal and U2 sell out, I watched as people from every different background, age, ethnicity, and lifestyle came together to worship this man called Jesus. I got lost in it all. On the side of the stage I watched and listened and sang my heart out and told Annie it was ok that we were already having contractions because seriously, this was the way to come into the world! And as Mercy Me began to wind down the set I felt it... that panic. That bit of sadness. That, "role over on your back" feeling.
Don't end yet! Doesn't I Can Only Imagine have another verse? Can't you make up another verse? Can't you bring more rain or a light drizzle or something? (Another of their songs... Bring the Rain). Can't you keep going on God with Us just a little bit longer? Just repeat the chorus dummy. Bart... aggghhh... don't quit. Please, please, let us stay here forever and worship like this.
And perhaps that is what heaven will be like. Not some lame version of Six Flags that I always hoped for as a kid, but this place that is so full of incredible worship that there is an actual, physical achiness inside to think about the absence of it, the end of it.
Bu until heaven...
All good things must come to an end.
The show ended. And with tears streaming down my face I realized that meant my stint on the Rock and Worship Roadshow Tour ended as well.
I began having contractions yesterday that were about 15 minutes apart. Though they finally ended around 1:00 a.m., and seem to be dormant this morning, I knew it was time to be home and rest. This means we are pulling out of the last 5 shows we were scheduled to be on. And as I felt it come to an end there was such a twinge of sadness. We will be out on the road again in no time, there will be more tours, lots of tours, and I am not losing a thing in the world! But you know, sometimes things are so good, that you ache when they end.
That's how I felt last night.
All good things must come to an end...
But the end always represents a chance for something new.
In this case, Anniston Cate should be coming any day now. The doctor says she's going to be an early bird as I am already dilated and 50% effaced, but who can blame her? If she hurries up we can have her first Easter egg hunt! She can enjoy the beautiful spring weather before the Texas heat settles in. She can give her mom a nice long break before hitting the road again in May... and this is relative. A crying baby verses feeling like a walrus? I am assuming (and not listening to any of you with baby horror stories) that a newborn has got to feel more like a break than being a walrus squeezing into airplanes, buses, and mini vans for cross country trips! She's coming!
So while one thing draws to an end, I am both completely terrified and terribly excited that something new is on the way. Someone new is on the way.