I was struck the other day by something I’ve ignored for a long time. I’m not gonna live forever. I forget that sometimes. As that thought resonated in my tired brain I began to reflect on my life and what I wish I’d done differently…better. And then I thought about my life today. Retired, reasonably good health, close proximity to my kids and grandkids. Is that enough?
On average, most of us will get 70-90 years. When I was 20, that seemed like a long time. But now I realize it’s not very long, especially when one is already at the low end of the range. There isn’t a lot of time left. How’d I get here so fast? So I asked myself, “what am I doing that matters? What am I doing, each day, that has significance?”
I saw an article about how most older people spend their time. Four hours of TV per day. An hour reading. A nap. Early and lengthy dinner. Just relaxing. Bingo. Traveling. Occasional time with the “Grands.” Add nine plus hours sleeping and you have a full day. But the question remains, “what are the significant, life changing, activities we engage in?” For most, there are none. It’s like we feel entitled to spend the rest of our life focused on “us.”
One of these days you’re gonna wake up dead. Then what? There won’t be a second chance to make your life count. I’m sure people think they have good reasons for thinking mostly about themselves. Some of us are depressed, angry, feeling cheated, dumped on, abused, hopeless, singled out, in pain, drunk, full of self-pity, medicated. That makes this whole “live life” thing a real challenge. It’s hard just to get out of bed each day let alone to do something significant.
I don’t have the answers for these problems, and despite what the “experts” say, I’m not sure they do either. People mean well and say stuff to make us feel good. “You look so young.” Or maybe they say stuff to make us feel less bad. “I’m sure you’ll feel better soon.” None of that helps. When I decided to write this I promised myself I wouldn’t get preachy. Some of you don’t like “preachy.” But the only solution I see to problems like these is a personal relationship with Jesus. Give Him a try. Just talk to Him. Enough preaching.
At the start of the summer, I decided that my grand kids were going to get as much of my time as I could give them. The older girls don’t need as much attention. (They may not want it either.) We’ve done many things with them as they’ve grown to be teenagers. I hope we’ve made an impression. The younger kids still enjoy being with us and I decided we should take advantage of that. If it meant missing church so we could swim and have dinner together, then that’s what we’d do. I’ve been to plenty of church services but I only have a few good years left to spend time with them. It was a great summer. We’ve made an impression on them. And they’ve enriched our lives. We’ll do the same thing next year.
The number of days left is dwindling. Every day wasted is…a wasted day. Make each one count. Think less about yourself. Turn the TV off, write a letter, call a friend, send an email, teach a class, share your story, get some help, spend time with someone important…the clock is ticking.