I don’t know about you, but something I can often forget amid the busy-ness of life and my endless to-do lists is that life is precious. The time we have on earth is precious. The lives of those around us are precious.
It’s good to be reminded of this, to take a step back and see the big picture of life (at least, as much as we can from our limited perspective). Unfortunately, oftentimes we are only reminded of this when tragedy strikes and that precious life is now gone.
This week was one of those times: my grandpa, who has had kidney problems for a while now, rapidly took a turn for the worse. His kidneys are failing and mixed with his other health issues, his condition is not looking promising. He was introduced to hospice this week.
As it turned out there was some good news: he and his primary doctor have decided to do a few more tests and try some other solutions before settling for hospice. They both want to keep fighting. We’ll see if they are able to improve his condition.
No matter if he takes a turn for the better or for the worse, this whole situation still forces me to the reality that one day I will lose my grandpa…one day I will lose all who are dear to me. Unfortunately, the price of living in a sinful world is that all of us must die one day. The hope that Jesus Christ offers us is that life doesn’t just end here: there is an eternity that God has prepared for us. Though we can’t work hard enough or live a good enough life to “get” there (because we are still sinful, no matter how hard we try!), Jesus Christ died to pay for our sins, and our belief in that sacrifice is the hope we have!
This hope is great and it definitely helps us as we grieve tragedy, but that still doesn’t null the fact that the time we have now is precious or that losing a loved one hurts.
So my thoughts today are simple: it is important to be intentional in our relationships and savor every moment we have with those we love. It is important to slow down, so as to not miss out on an opportunity you may never have again.
This challenge is two-fold. First, take time to spend quality time with your loved ones. I know that our lives get so hectic and our schedules get so full that visiting your friend, parents, or grandparents doesn’t always seem like the top priority. But I challenge you to think of one activity you could remove from your schedule this month and use it to visit someone you haven’t seen in a long time. And most importantly, savor the time you are together. Be fully present. Don’t think about your next task or keep looking at the clock. Relish in this beautiful moment that will soon be a memory. Make it a memory worth having: one full of laughter and meaningful conversation.
For some, this may not be possible. I live 1,500 miles from my family, so I totally get this! And it’s super hard to not be able to spend time with loved ones! But for those of us who fall into this category, especially consider my next challenge…
The second part of the challenge is to be overflowing in our love and gratitude for others. At many funerals, someone will come up to speak about the deceased person – they will share fond memories and express what made that person so great. Why is it that we only express how much we value someone after they’re gone?
Tell those who are dear to you (and, everyone!) just how special they are: show appreciation for an action they did, compliment a feature you truly value about their character, or reminisce a fond memory you have of them. Let’s choose to speak words that go beyond the surface level! You could do this in person or through a thoughtful card or letter (a great option for those who live far away).
I don’t know about you, but I want to look back on my life with as few regrets as possible, knowing I made the most of my time with those I love. That kind of regret-free life starts now in our intentional decisions to make time for friends and family and to openly express our love.
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18