It’s was a week. Actually it was a couple of weeks, maybe three. Really, it seems to be this whole year thus far.
The days swiftly roll by, one after the other, and I find myself shocked at the date on the calendar. How can it be nearing the middle of October, and Sweet William’s birthday is upon me, and I don’t know what to get him?
We traveled to see our dear ones last week, a long hard drive, there and back. It was our first opportunity this year. Seeing the faces of my son and his family was reward enough. I don’t get to be with them as much as my heart desires. Time spent in their presence is cherished.
The visit with those I hold most precious was filled with laughter, shared experiences that will fill our memory banks in the days to come when we are miles apart. The conversation, the touch, the hug will be held close in my heart.
I heard of two deaths while we were away, friends with whom I had only recently talked. Gone from this world. And I cried. I wanted to see them both just one more time.
The brevity of life occupies my thoughts the week after our travel. We are only here on earth for a short season, no matter how many years we live. It’s a reminder that interactions with people are always full of purpose, full of meaning. Not to be taken lightly.
As I remember my two friends, I was glad for the times recently when I showed up in their lives. That morning I picked her up from her apartment and we went for coffee and I paid the tab. That day I drove into the hospital to see her and we shared a vanilla milk shake her son brought to the room.
Thinking of what I’ve accomplished in my life, job titles that brought fleeting pride in the moment, the myriad of projects I thought I finished well, I realize it was when I reached out to a fellow human being that was most valuable.
The telephone call made to check on someone. The card written to say “I’m thinking of you.” The coffee date shared for a couple of hours. The quiet listening without trying to fix anything. The tears rolling down our cheeks over shared struggles. The long hard drives to be where they are on a special occasion. The minutes, hours, days given away.
It is the giving of myself that has counted more than anything. I see it now. Because those who have given themselves to me have marked me and given meaning to my life.
I’ve missed a lot of opportunities to make a difference, to give my support, to be an encouragement, to be a good friend. To show up. I regret the many lost chances for connection.
I attended the funeral today of my 93-year-old friend. It was a glorious celebration of her life. Her family filled the front row. Another row was filled with women who had sat under her teaching at Sunday school years ago. All those faces reflected the investment she made into their lives, a legacy of her life, her love and her belief in a Savior named Jesus.
She showed up again and again. She showed up in my life.
Time ticks away too quickly. The moments we have today will be gone tomorrow. Will they be wasted on the unimportant or invested in the eternal?
Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current. — Marcus Aurelius
I don’t want to forget what I am learning this week, this art of showing up and giving the gift of myself. Busy-ness will try to side-track this wisdom. Voices pretending to be urgent will reach out to grab for my attention. Distractions will always be there to pull me aside. Hopefully, I will remember that life is uncertain and brief at best. This day is the present I have to offer.
I hope I can be more aware and quick to evaluate the importance of my life in someone else’s life. I only get one chance at this life. Let me live it well.