One Less Candle

A walk through my neighborhood gifted me with a man’s profound wisdom packaged in a simple statement–

“It’s a spring day in the winter of my life,” said my elderly neighbor while raising his American flag early one April morning.

His words revealed great depth; he recognized the brevity of his life.  Unfair to most, this man had age as his reminder to seize the day.  Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case; we often stumble through life expecting that we have an approximate amount of time to live.

We fail to believe that we could leave this world before we accomplish our goals; our time seems to replenish itself as each year passes.  Proverbs 27:1 states, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring”; yet, most of us live as if tomorrow will never run out.  Tomorrow we will forgive, tomorrow we will make that call, tomorrow we will play with the kids.  It’s not as if we don’t want to do those things, it’s just that life is too busy to get to them now, so we believe.  It’s easy to imagine all that we will do tomorrow since it is always in surplus.

Tomorrow we will become who God intended, just one more day until—

What remains of our chapter when tomorrow never comes?

If we read our lives as novels, why is it that we assume that our pages never run out?  For now, we are too busy focusing on our to-do lists.  From morning until night, we rush through our minutes as if we are in a marathon.  Another day, another dollar; another year, and the kids get taller.  Winter tiptoes into spring, and spring leaps to summer; summer crawls to fall and fall sprints to winter.  If we could see our time diminishing like sand in an hourglass, would we change how we live each day?

Would we literally stop and smell the roses?  Would we even notice them?

Somehow, in the abundance of time, we can’t seem to decipher the meaningful moments from the frantic pace.  Our days become a blur of monotonous repetition of meaninglessness.  Perhaps, we shouldn’t increase our birthday candles with age.  Wouldn’t it be more realistic if we were given 76 candles at birth only to watch them decrease as the years passed?  Would we make living more meaningful knowing that our time was running out?  Would we exchange our to-do lists for our to-be lists:  to be thankful, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be real in the midst of daily chaos?

Living the abundant life does not mean abandoning the ones that we already have.  Instead, it is an intentional pursuit of seeing God in what appears as the ordinary, the insignificant busyness of our lives.  Deciding to celebrate the little moments throughout the day is the beginning of a meaningful life.  Instead of rushing through traffic, we see the sunrise appearing in the morning sky.  In place of watching shattered lives on television, we ride bikes with our children.  We trade gossip with friends for conversations with Jesus.  We live each day intentionally breathing, thinking, praying.  We don’t stop life as we know it; we pursue it as it ought to be.  We live as if there is no tomorrow, yet believing that there is.

Friend, are you appreciating your surroundings as you race through life?  Is your heart prompting you to notice something or someone, but you keep telling yourself, “tomorrow?”  If today was your last day on this side of eternity, would you leave any area of your life in regret?  If so, now is the time to do it, not tomorrow–nowWill you choose to live before you die?

Let us pray Psalm 39:4-5,

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” Selah             (Selah means to stop and consider)

Blessings! –Michelle

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