I think ‘firsts’ are an important and interesting reality.
I will tell you what I mean.:
Life in all its complexity and nuance
Positively explodes with firsts.
I began crying one time. (Although I don’t recall it, I must have been absolutely squalling,)
The first time I ever took a breath.
The first time I ever got smacked on my behind,
As some doctor I’d never met before,
Held me up to a world I’d never been to before,
And said, “Welcome to humanity.”
I’d never been welcomed to humanity before. And I’d never cried, before, either.
Very first time for both things.
A friend gave us some persimmons the other day. I love persimmons, now.
But the first time I ever tasted one?
Not so much.
My cousin, Billy Chilton, who lived in the country,
Thought it would be hilarious to watch a kid from the city,
Take his very first bite of a green persimmon.
I know it was hilarious for my cousin. But for me? Not so much.
I remember the first time I ever tasted coffee,
And I wondered who in their right mind could ever like such a thing?
But I drink coffee, first thing every morning, now,
Because my life is still filled with first things.
I remember the first girl I liked in the second grade.
And the first job I ever got paid for doing.
(My mom gave me jobs, like taking out the garbage,
But she never thought that should warrant any paycheck,
So I can’t remember the first time I had to take out the garbage.)
I unfortunately remember the preaching of the first sermon I ever preached.
(I don’t remember the sermon; just the preaching, which was pretty sad.
I tried my best not to make the people who were listening sad,
But I could tell by the expressions on their faces: they were pained.)
The first time I kissed my wife.
The first time I looked through a hospital nursery window at my first-born son.
The first time I ever drove the family car.
My first date. (She asked me, because it was a reversal dance.)
My first airplane trip.
The first time I left home.
The first fish I ever caught. (A bluegill in a farm pond. My dad put the worm on the hook.)
I don’t remember the first words I ever spoke.
And for a certainty, I won’t remember the last words I will speak, either.
But just as certainly as there was a first word … there will be a last.
I can only hope my last words will not be as painful as my first sermon.
And, although I can’t remember the first time I ever cried,
I can recall many times since then when sorrow and pain visited my life.
No question about it.
My life has been strewn with an incredibly long line of firsts.
But, today, I was also somewhat struck about an equally challenging idea:
My life will also, no matter where I go, who I meet, or what I do,
Contain an equal number of lasts.
I just won’t know it when I’m doing something important for the last time.
( I guess I’ll need to pay more attention, just in case … well, you know.)
One more thing:
These are the last words I will ever type on this computer.
I just got a brand new laptop, I’ll be using from now on.
And when i touch those new keys?
Yup. Another first.