Monday, February 07, 2011

The Glorious Now

What if you knew you only had a few months to live? Are there any people you'd call one last time to apologize to? Are there any places you'd travel to see before you passed away? What are the things you would do that you always intended to do but never got around to? Maybe you'd paint a picture or finish your novel? Maybe you'd teach your children a story, or take a vacation with those you love and soak in every last ounce of their presence while you could?

Wouldn't food taste more exquisite? Wouldn't laughter be deeper than before? Wouldn't color and sound and simple moments take on new significance?

Just holding a dear one's hands in your own would resonate with meaning. Just looking into the eyes of your children would bring you to tears. Just drawing a breath deep into your lungs and exhaling slowly would seem like drinking in the universe and exhaling your soul into the sky.

But what if you really only have one more week here on this Earth before you're gone? What if tomorrow you discover a lump, or get sick, or suffer a heart attack or a stroke? Do you know for certain how many days you have left upon this Earth?

None of us does, of course. So, we try not to dwell on the thought because it makes us uncomfortable to pause and listen to the clock over our head as it ticks down the remaining hours of our life. We are happier, more at ease, when we imagine ourselves to be invulnerable to the effects of entropy.

Yet, this is not the truth. We are not immortal. We are not immune to time. Death may have lost its sting, but death still retains its bite and every one of us alive this very moment will one day breathe our last.

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
- Psalm 90:12

When we face the reality of our own mortality and accept that we are finite and limited, it gives us freedom to love and to forgive and to share with glorious abandon.

If we really understand that nothing we have will come with us to the grave, then we can open our hands and share what we have with those in need.

If we truly understand that in a few days our time here will be over, we can freely forgive those who have offended us and set ourselves free to enjoy the time we have left on this Earth.

All things created by God have a beginning and all things created by God have an end. Our time here is limited. Every one of us will come to the moment when we know our life is done. What matters is that we accomplish what we have been placed here to accomplish. What matters is that we live today as if it were all we have to live.

Our focus should be, not on yesterday which is over and done, and not on tomorrow which may never come, but on this glorious gift of now we call "today" where we live by the grace of Almighty God to love and share and reflect His Glory.

"Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days
a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man's life is but a breath. Selah
Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro:
He bustles about, but only in vain;
he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.
But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you." - Psalm 39:4-7


[Originally posted on the Subversive Underground, November 29, 2008]

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