Today my youngest grandson, Tristan, turns one-year old! I love him with all my heart and am very proud of him. I am looking forward to seeing what the future will bring to him. I got to spend significant time with him during this first year, which has meant the world to me. The last time I would have had the opportunity to be around a person their first year would have been almost 30 years and that would have been with my youngest daughter, Trisha, who happens to be Tristan’s Mama. However, I did not have that opportunity because I was serving overseas in the military for much of her first year, including her first birthday. I still remember the heartbreak and guilt I felt that day. I got through it by the grace of God and the support of some very good friends.
Celebrating first birthdays and anniversaries are of particular prominence in our lives. First year wedding anniversaries are typically a day of celebration. Many places of work make a big deal of an employee’s first year anniversary. People who have beat an addiction look at their first year as a big deal and it is! Even the tragedies of our lives, both the personal ones and the societal ones, while they remain with us a lifetime there is something different about that first year.
I think the significance of the first year is because during that time of a major life change we learn much, we grow in so many ways, and in some of the changes we have the opportunity to decide if we made the right choice or is it time to move on. But regardless, the successes and failures of that first year sets the foundation for the future.
I often think about the lives of the 12 Apostles, even aside from the things recorded in Scripture. These were men who went on a life-changing journey and most of them did great things, but they nonetheless were men. The exchange recorded in Matthew 4:18-20 fascinates me “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
Peter and Andrew had a “wow moment” here. First, I doubt they fully understood what was meant when Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers or men.” Second, to do so would be to fully abandon everything they knew. Finally, and most fascinating to me is that “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
So fast forward a year, to the first-year anniversary of Peter and Andrew leaving their nets. Was it a celebration or “what did we get ourselves into” day? I believe it was a celebration because they stayed and kept moving forward. They had learned but had much more to learn; they had grown but had much more growing to do; and I am certain there were both successes and failures in that first year—but their strong foundation had been set!
Tristan did not roll over the first time he tried; he did not sit up by himself the first time he tried; he did not crawl the first time he tried; he did not master the sippy cup the first time he tried. The key is he tried and tried enjoying the successes while learning and growing through the failures. Year two is going to be a blast!