facing our fragility

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the meaning of the phrase “all the time in the world” changes.

When we are young, we mean that there is (most likely) still so much life ahead of us. The accomplishments and opportunities are numerous and exciting.

But each year, and very gradually, those opportunities disappear. The fork in the road taken eliminates other forks. As the years go by, it makes less and less sense to define “time” so futuristically, given how finite we are.

There are more days now when we think about how old we’ve become and face the realities of age. We see news stories on television describing future events and increasingly wonder if we will be here to see them. I remember hearing for the first time about plans for a new interstate to run east-west across Texas, and then coming to a screeching halt when I realized that I would be over 70 when it was finished. While it is easy for someone at 20 to imagine life at 40, it gets harder to do that now.

So how do we cope with the inevitability of time? I think one critical approach is to redefine what “time” means for us. As we age, we must learn to think about each moment as its own opportunity. So many things can be done in a few moments.

We can be joyful and show others our joy rather than our fear.

We can demonstrate peace to others rather than anger.

We can be kind and merciful rather than cruel and unforgiving.

We can practice self-control in all areas of our life rather than just doing what we want and trying to fix it later.

We can freely show people love and how valuable they are rather than offering that love at a price.

You see, even in older age, there are still forks in the road. They aren’t major life moments like marriage, kids, or careers, but none less important. Our time horizon has to change from “years” to “moments”. Each day must be seen as a collection of opportunities that may not rattle the foundations of the earth but could mean so much to someone that you impact. “Quantity” of time must give way to “quality”.

Choose each day to be in step with the Spirit. Don’t listen to the lies we are told by the world that push us to seek out happiness in earthly things. Be thankful for each moment and try to use it in the best way that you can, assured that your ultimate future is secure in the person of Christ.

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