“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life.  It goes on.”

— Robert Frost

Life goes on.  I love those three little words.  Yesterday, when I wrote about standing and waiting, I omitted the part about how actively we must stand and wait.  In spite of the demand to wait quietly that comes from things that are beyond our control, there will always be new events that keep us in motion, even as we stand and wait.

As a member of the club sandwich generation —  one with elderly parents, a marriage, young adult children, and even a grandchild I am raising — I am often called on to multi-task across generational lines.  When one generation calls on me to stand and wait and another demands immediate action, it is easy to become confused about just where I should place my energy on a busy day.

Yesterday, as my mom and dad rode a roller coaster of medical crisis more than a thousand miles away, I knew that all I could do was to keep my feet planted on the ground and speak the words of reassurance that would allow their stomachs to settle each time their car came to a halt in the station.  I am not the ride operator; and this time, there is no seat for me in the coaster.  I think of times in my childhood when my parents would wait at the end of an amusement park ride, holding my possessions and waiting to smooth my wind-blown hair before we moved on to the next adventure.  Now it is my turn to be the one who waits.

I suppose I am more fortunate that many people my age, because while the coaster flies over the rails so far away, there is an adventure unfolding right where I am.  While others in my generation who stand and wait might need to remind themselves not to confuse waiting with grinding to a halt, I have plenty of reasons to keep on living while I wait to hear whether I’m needed somewhere else.

As thoughts of life — it’s ups and downs, its beginnings and endings — sit in the front of my mind, I see a collage of events from impending birth of a new baby, to small children learning to navigate the world, to teenagers flexing their independence as they move toward adulthood, to young parents taking over the responsibility of shaping the next generation, to my elderly parents waiting to see whether their time will soon end.  Here I sit in the middle of it all, with memories of all the places I have been and memories of the old folks in those younger scenes.  There is comfort in those three words, “it goes on.”  Long after I have lived out my days on Earth, there will be others who marvel at the never-ending dance.

Whatever challenges life may bring today; we need to remember that in spite of the outcome, life will go on.