How old are the oldest people you know? Are they in their eighties? Their nineties? Their hundreds? Are there any who will, in the midst of their own longevity, say that life, or at least a good chunk of its seasons, didn’t pass by quickly?
I’m sure you’ve heard of Noah before, the old man with all the animals on his big boat. Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, lived nine hundred sixty-nine years, longer than any other human being in the Bible. Now, I don’t purport to be a historian or a mathematician, but if you compare one man’s near-millennium to the sum total of years of every life that has ever been lived on the planet, even Methuselah’s life is but a drop in humanity’s bucket.
We’ve so many things to do in our lifetimes, and we’re all racing against the clock, aren’t we? Well, I prefer not to think of myself as racing “against” the clock, as if time is my enemy or my contender. Time is a gift from God, something by which we can keep track of history and use it to plan for the future. I’m not racing or battling against the gift; I’m seeking to learn to appreciate and to move wisely with it.
I know that my life, no matter how long it is, will ultimately be a short one. I want to make the most of my moments and enjoy every season.
I’m at what I believe to be a good place: I’m satisfied with my past, I’m satisfied with my present, and I’m not stressing out over my future. My being satisfied with my past doesn’t mean that nothing traumatic or unjust ever happened to me or that I’ve never done anything that I shouldn’t have. It means that I recognize the person I’ve become as a result of my experience, and because I love who I am, the memory of my past is well with my soul.
My being satisfied with my present doesn’t mean that I’m currently tiptoeing through a hunky-dory field of tulips without a care in the world. It means that as I live, taking stock of what’s good, what’s bad, and what can be improved, I acknowledge that I am where I am, and my present is well with my soul.
Not stressing out over my future doesn’t mean I have no dreams or goals or that I’m not working diligently to meet up with them. It means that I’m choosing not to be afraid of (or because of) what’s ahead of me and beyond my control. My approaching days are in hands much bigger than mine, and so the prospect of my future is well with my soul.
Each and every season of life is a passing one. Even the places of success that we want to reach will be components of temporary seasons. We have only so long to build our reputations and legacies. You may be saving up to buy your first house, but you won’t be forever. You may be raising your kids, but you won’t be forever. Life is a journey, a process. If every time I land somewhere, I’m striving to reach a different, better place, but I neglect to evaluate and enjoy the journey along the way, I’ll eventually look back and realize how much LIFE I missed while I was so busy scrambling to get somewhere else.
Yes, I have goals that I’m working to reach, but I’ve determined not to let the idea of those future goals cause me to discount or devalue my present. I’m learning not to be so obsessed with the image of where it may seem, one day, that “I have arrived” that I fail to celebrate the other victories throughout the process, even the ones that may not be all that important to everyone else.
During my life moments, I’m going to take some time to smell the roses. I encourage you to do the same.