Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday Moment: The (Avoidable) Tragedy of Life

The tragedy of life
is not that it ends so soon,
but that we wait so long to begin it.
-W. M. Lewis

I'm one of those people who has a hard time being in the moment. I struggle with seeing what's in front of me. I fail to be where I am. I miss summer wishing for fall. I blow a lovely night worrying about the next morning. I rush through lunch thinking about what's for supper. I spend this vacation dreaming about the next one. I mail November's electric payment already dreading December's.

I'm a moment killer. I chase off the life I have now... today... by worrying about or longing for the one that's to be. I'm working on it, but I do: I live in moments that don't yet belong to me.

Sure, thinking ahead is good at times. It's important to plan for tomorrow. To take a vitamin and eat broccoli. To change the oil in your car. To tuck money away for college and retirement. It's important to plan for tomorrow, but not at the expense of completely missing today.

How is this a devotional? Well, missing today for tomorrow happens in our spiritual walks, too. Every day. How many times have we missed small blessings looking for big ones? How often do we pass by people who need our help, all the while praying for purpose? How many times a day... a week... do we ignore the opportunities to serve that God's set before us, while self-righteously proclaiming that we're waiting on "God's will"?

Of one thing I'm sure: God is a God of details. He's a conductor of a staggeringly complex and multi-faceted orchestra: His universe. Our lives. And despite how it may appear to our limited, unseeing eyes, God has plans and purposes. For you. For me. For the lives of those around us. And in spite of our deepest-held expectations or carefully-worded prayers, God's watch doesn't run on our time. His map doesn't look anything like ours. And His purpose, while looking a long way off, could, really, be the very thing ... the very life... that's right in front of us.

Not sure about you, but I mourn the moments I've lost while waiting on others. I'm ashamed of not fully loving the children around me while longing for a child of my own. I'm embarrassed by the times I haven't given when I've been in a position to. I kick myself for the people I could have hugged, or prayed for, or taken cookies to, or met for coffee, but failed to because I was "busy" or tired or hurting myself.

Lewis is right: the tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. And the tragedy of being a God-adoring, people-serving, Bible-reading, fervent-praying Christian is the same: it's not that it all ends too soon, but that we wait so, so long to begin.

But it doesn't have to be. That doesn't have to be your tragedy or mine. We can turn it all around today. Start with someone you pass. Or sit next to. Pray for someone who needs it. Hug someone who could use one. And instead of going to God with what you don't have, hold up what you do and say thanks.

It doesn't take much. God can use our moments. A moment here... a moment there... and suddenly we've begun to live a life of purpose. And I don't know about you, but to me, that's hope. That's the hope of one tragedy in life I can sidestep.

Praise God. Praise God....


For if we are faithful to the end,
trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed,
we will share in all that belongs to Christ.
Remember what it says:
Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts...
-Hebrews 3:14-15a

18 comments:

Mrs. JoAnne Mabey said...

very nicely said- i think i needed that for this next couple of weeks. oh and i had a dream about you- you will have to call me for the details it was awesome. :) anyway- hope all is well!

fairmaiden said...

This is so true. I appreciate how honest you are. I am one who lives in the moment...I embrace the simple every day treasures...I was a Big dreamer when I was younger, but even as a little girl I would get lost in the tiniest things that I encountered in the day. It bothered my family and friends. I have had to learn that God made me that way and that it makes Him smile to see me enjoy a ladybug climbing on a blade of grass. Anyways, I am glad this journey you are on is slowing you down and teaching you to savor those things that get overlooked in our fast paced world. I also love your new title picture of the violin...it's romantic and funky at the same time.

I just got the new 'goodberry patch' cookbook ~Coming Home~ from one of my favorite shops~ *pomegranate* in our very own Old Towne. It makes me think of you.

A Woman Who is: said...

It doesn't take much. God can use our moments. A moment here... a moment there... and suddenly we've begun to live a life of purpose.

That is a good word!

Vee said...

Yes, it's all true, except let's not kick ourselves. That begets more of the same.

This reminds me of a quote I love...

"Whatever God's dream about you may be, it seems certain it cannot come true unless you cooperate." ~ Stella Terrill Marin

I do have to tell you that Mondays have become a whole lot more special as I anticipate a Monday Moment. :)

laurel said...

Brin-
I loved this post so much that I linked to it on my blog. You don't mind, do you? It was beautifully written and always needs to be heard. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

Terri and Bob said...

What a perfect November topic. And, one that is needed in our fast paced world. I appreciate how you are enjoying November. I'd like to link it to my blog, too, for tomorrow if you are ok with that.

naomi said...

I so needed to hear this this morning as my week starts. Slowing down and resting in Him is always a choice.

Thank You

sister sheri said...

Oh, Brin. I've struggled with this, too. How I hate the journey to where I am going. Like when I sit in a car three to four hours to just get to a vacation spot. I try to find the positive in the journey, but I get bored. So, now I try to be as thoughtful of the journey as I am the destination.

Lovely Lady Laura said...

Brin;
I just recently found your blog and enjoy reading your entries so much. Today's post was just beautiful! It's hard to imagine that one so young is blessed with such insight.

MyLifeWithTrent said...

Oh my, yes indeed we miss so much! I have notcied that I've also missed out because I'm looking for something for me- and it's not about me- it's about God, and His will. And yet almost always I expect to get warm fuzzies from serving Him, and others. Those moments are there- more often than not, but not always, and I still need to be looking for what to do now.

Deb said...

Absolutely beautiful post Brin. I love the quote.

t.b.f.love. said...

this is such an important lesson, but i think it's one we are all guilty of missing, at least every once in awhile. it is important to remember to be thankful for all the little moments - thank you for saying it so eloquently!

Liz said...

Oh wow. I feel ashamed for two reasons: 1. this is me down to my toenails and 2. I should have figured this out before now. Thanks again for your tremendous gift of insight, you do so much good with this blog Brin!

Sue said...

Oh Brin, this has to be my favorite Monday moment yet, it really spoke to me, so true and yet so simple! Thanks girl, you are awesome!

Terri and Bob said...

Just curious, did you finish the Glass Castle? I am rereading it after meeting the author.

betty r said...

Such a good reminder Brin...let's live in the moment, too many precious moments slip by and we want to live life to the fullest!
I was in the USA this weekend and I thought of you Brin as I saw all the decorations out for Thanksgiving and for Christmas and there was Christmas music playing!
I can see you shaking your head and I feel for you...

Things That Inspire said...

I love this post. It speaks to me heart.

Barbara said...

Good post and beautiful photos. It is so easy tomiss the moment.

Getting sick while travelling is the worst. Trust you are better soon.

Come visit if you would like to see some spectacular Autumn scenes from England.