I’ve been reminded this week that we’re mortal, each and every one of us – broken and breakable, fragile and flawed. As reminders go, I can’t say this one is my favorite, but I think it’s important.
I like to pretend I’m going to live forever. As long as I can remember, and much to my mother’s dismay, I’ve been relatively unconcerned about my own safety. I’ll gladly jump out of a plane, or climb that treacherous rock, or wander around dark neighborhoods at unwise hours of the night. I like to believe that I’m wandering through life in some sort of protective bubble, impervious to evil or accident or fate. I wear my confidence in a good God like it’s physical armor instead of spiritual, as though faith alone can save me from tripping and scraping my knee.
But faith doesn’t guarantee safety – in the Bible and in many parts of the world it has almost the opposite effect. God doesn’t promise safe passage for my physical person along with His permanent destination for my soul. I felt the weight of that this week as I counted my father’s heartbeats when I hugged him on Sunday and rested in the rhythm of his newly reset self. I witnessed it in the words of a wife who sat and prayed open-eyed at the end of her husband’s hospital bed, kissing his feet through the blankets and smiling, beautiful and brave. I watched her, I hugged my father, and I remembered that these moments that we have here are fleeting – they are nothings, echoes, beginnings, vapor, dust in the wind. We have only the time we’re given.
You know I believe in heaven, and I believe that when we leave this place we go back to our home, our God, our wholeness. I wish I could say I was anxious to get there. But always I remember all the things I want to do still, the words I want to say, the things I want to feel, and I can’t help but hope I’ll have the time to live them. Because while we’re here, this thing we’re doing is beautiful… it’s violent and messy and hard and lovely and human, but it’s our story. Today I’m reminded that I need to live every day as though the story is concluding- every hour the potential climax and every conversation the potent last that will be remembered. It’s good to remember that fear is a liar, that we should be a little wasteful and extravagant sometimes with our words and our feelings, that we should shower each other with truth, with heart, with sappy praise, with helpful thoughts, with words of love. Because we were born already beginning to run out of time.
Don’t hold back, friends. Don’t hold back, self. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, tell that person you’ve been wanting to tell, try that impossible something you’ve been avoiding all this time. We are fools not to harness these moments. We are fools not to saturate them with joy.