The 2010 Corvette Grand Sport travels zero to 60 mph in four seconds flat. Though impressive, I have discovered a child will outpace a sports car every time, traveling zero to 18 in the blink of an eye.
Yesterday we brought our daughter home from the hospital; today she celebrated 18 years of life. The warp-speed journey is a bit of a blur and significant events flashed by like random highway signs: diapers, teething, toddler, first grade, skinned knees, teenager, driver’s license and ta-daaa, an 18th birthday.
The notion that time flies is inspired by more than nostalgia. Scientists calculate the earth is spinning at a jaw-dropping 1,040 miles/hour at the equator, while revolving around the sun at 18.5 miles/second. It makes one want to scramble for an air-sickness bag.
But it also challenges me to cherish the days I have been allotted on earth. Each holds 86,400 seconds that, once spent, can never be recovered. Stewarding this most precious of resources requires strategy.
First, remember that life is simply the accumulation of moments. Relish them accordingly: a sip of well-brewed coffee, a loved one’s embrace, a smile from across the room or the melodic anthem of a song-bird. God, in His infinite wisdom knew that too much life in one shot would be overwhelming for humans. So He broke it into bite size pieces then empowered us to manage the moments well. That’s why Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough worry of its’ own.” (Matthew 6:34)
Next, invest in relationships. Many North Americans choose overtime instead of family time. The result: a growing financial portfolio but relational poverty. Large houses but dysfunctional homes, luxury vehicles with solo occupants.
We would do well to learn from the grizzled old prospector who cackled, “Not everything that glitters in ‘dem ‘dere hills is gold.” The purest relational nuggets are unearthed on the sidelines of soccer fields, near holiday campfires and while lingering around supper tables. Much of what the world offers is mere fool’s gold with much glitter but little enduring worth.
Finally, wise stewardship of time demands that we learn from past mistakes.
Alexander Pope preached, “To ere is human…” — and I couldn’t agree more. It is an enduring point of unity for humans; past, present and future. However, mistakes do not define failure. Jim, a long-term participant in Alcoholics Anonymous, once told me, “A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn anything from it; otherwise it’s a learning experience.” In such an atmosphere of learning, even the vilest of circumstances can be redemptive.
Anger reveals unfulfilled expectations. Fears can unveil insecurities. Even abuse patterns highlight control issues. The beauty of it all is that once shortcomings are revealed, they can be repented of and learned from, spring-boarding participants into a more optimistic future.
Singer/songwriter Carolyn Arends aptly summarizes the subject: “Seize the day. Seize whatever you can. ‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand. Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand. Then nothing will stand in your way. Seize the day.”
Such lyrics remind us that time flits by. Life is traversed in the fast lane — whether we like it or not. And, seemingly overnight, giggly little girls become beautiful young women; strong, mature and independent – perhaps even driving a Corvette.
Rod Barks is a Saskatchewan pastor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org