Monday, December 10, 2012

Brevity

Another one of those not so gentle reminders about the brevity of life.

The mother of one of Nighean dhonn's classmates  passed away Saturday night.  A cancer that had gotten to her brain, after being a two-time cancer survivor.  They had hoped she would be here for Christmas.  She leaves behind a husband and two sons.

It is another case of drive-by sorrow.  I only knew of her through her illness, ran a race to support her, occasionally got updates on her status from The Ravishing Mrs. TB.  No relationship beyond that of passing, no knowledge beyond that of others.

She was younger than I.

What it brings to mind - beyond the inconsolable thought of a husband and sons bereft of someone they expected to (and should have) spent long years with - is the brevity of life and its unknown nature to us.

We spend our time too often on that which does not matter.  We become tangled in our minds and thinking on that which has little value beyond the immediate.  Certainly there is a need to be involved where we are - but at the same time, many of us - most - take up the burden of things far more than we should.  We fritter away our energy and our lives on minors - "the thick of thin things" as Stephen Covey would say.

The result?  Beyond just a very real fact of wasting time on that which does not matter, we fail to spend our time on that which does matter - and then, when the end of our life comes (as it inevitably will) we are suddenly "struck" by the fact that we had no time to do what we really intended, what really mattered.

Oh, we meant to.  We meant to spend more time with our spouse or our family, to get serious about God, to spend our lives doing things that mattered rather than things that didn't.  It's just that we never had the time, you understand - we were too busy being busy.  And so, like the trolls of old, we are caught by the rising sun of death and turn to stone, our deeds undone.

Why can we so easily push off the important for the urgent?  Why do we ruin our lives for that which is of no account instead of that which matters?

I understand this better than most.  That which my industry produces has a life span, and companies change hands frequently.  Of all I have worked on and with, most of the products are now not sold, and most of the companies out of business or merged with another.  15 years of work with little beyond a living to show for it.

How much time did this represent?  How much suffering?  How many hours away, commuting back and forth, missing other things?  How much emotional baggage invested in people, against people?  How much effort in projects which are now filed away in boxes awaiting destruction?

We are given enough time to do that which God calls us to do.  Let us be careful we do not waste the gift spending it on that which is of no importance.

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