Thursday, September 23, 2010
Enjoy People While You Can
This is a article written by my dear friend Elisha Wahlquist The article is titled "Gone!". You can read the article below:
"It is only when you lose something do you realize its value.
How sad! Days, hours before, we could have enjoyed that person, or thing, or experience; but we took them for granted, and hurried on our preoccupied way. Then, when we realize the things' worth, it is no longer there.
In 2003, there were 6,328,000 car accidents in the US, or roughly 17,337 crashes a day. They were each unexpected events, ending in an average of 8,062 injuries and fatalities per day in the US. These statistics should be a warning to us of the brevity of life. Without warning, the lives of family members could be ended or drastically impaired, at any time. We think death is something far off, or something that will give warnings ahead of time, allowing us to then really enjoy that person--- but, for the grace of God, it could happen to anyone in the blink of an eye.
A less momentous example is that of one of my dear friends. Last Christmas, she was enjoying Christmas with her large, happy family, with no inkling that she would not be a maiden in her father's house the next Christmas. However, in January, she was told that a young man wished to court her--- and by October this year (Lord willing) she will be married. There will be a different flavor to her Christmas this year--- a wonderful and special difference, but a difference nonetheless. She will never be able to wholly relive those Christmases when she was an unmarried young woman living with her siblings. Those times are gone forever.
Whether it is a move, a water main breakage, or something as tragic as the death of someone dear to us, we all face situations in which we realize--- too late!--- how we took something or someone for granted.
As a preacher aptly said;
"Life is what happens when you are waiting for life to start."
I think this is a very rampant problem, especially among us young ladies. I have corresponded and talked to many girls over the years, and it seems like almost every one of them would agree with me that we face temptation to view some event in our future as "when real, enjoyable life will begin," to "just live" life right now as we look forward to that rosy day when Prince Charming will come, or when some other momentous event occurs. I am preaching to myself as I write this. I continually catch myself becoming too focused on my own things, and not earnestly putting myself into my family life and what is happening right now.
When I was a young girl, I viewed the book of Ecclesiastes as mystifying in some ways. But now I can see the rich wisdom in verses such as these:
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
As the above verses show, there are so many different "times" and seasons in our lives! They also emphasize that we need to live wholly in whichever one God has brought into our life.
How can we truly rejoice, if we have never truly wept? How can we enjoy the embrace of our beloved, if we have never set ourselves apart and refrained from embracing? How can we appreciate the gift of speech, if we never had times of silence? How can we be pleased with the ability to keep things, if we never had to give things away? As Paul says:
"...I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:11b-13)
The point is this. We need to be focused on enjoying whatever God has placed in our lives right now. Don't even push off until tomorrow, thinking "I'll be less busy then," or "I won't be tired tomorrow, and then I'll be able to enjoy my siblings." By tomorrow they may be gone. But even if they are not-- even if nothing seems to changed-- you will have cast away moments of that will never be regained. Nothing-- no amount of tears or repentance or wishing-- will ever be able to regain or change those hours you lost.
We have to be so, so careful that we do not let other things get in the way of the most important relationships in our life-- those of our family. Writing letters, doing online courses, tending your garden, crafting, talking with your friends, drawing, practicing music, scrapbooking, photography, training animals, etc. etc. etc. ... all these can be very good, But they are black time-stealers if we become so busy with them that we neglect our relationships with our siblings.
Have you ever just sat back and tried to enjoy your family members? You may say, "You just don't know my ________ (mother, dad, brother, sister, etc.)." You know, I have noticed something interesting that happens once a person dies. Maybe Mr. X was a "bear" at home; perhaps he had a terrible temper, or just had quirks that annoyed those around him. But once Mr. X is gone, something happens. Usually there is a mindset change among even the ones he annoyed or bothered. So many times, I have seen people--- who would complain volubly about Mr. X while he was alive--- begin to remember the good things he had done. His faults fade away now that they have no longer have to be dealt with, and Mr. X's better qualities come to light. This is very unfortunate, in one way. It is only when the person is gone--- when Mr. X's special story-telling gift will never be heard again--- that they are truly loved and missed. And that is the true tragedy.
However, this does not have to happen. Sister in Christ, it is a grand shame and a disgraceful one that such would ever happen among us Christians. But it does, far too often--- and we, who willfully spent our time hastening to events or doing our own pleasure, our words to that person usually those of criticism, indifference, or irritation, will mourn the things that we missed in our preoccupation.
Be thankful now! We need to be counting our blessings, and looking for positive things in our present situation, Start small--- just looking for things to be grateful to your parents for. Then expand, thinking of your siblings and bringing to remembrance all the good things you can think of. Then, are there others who have had a good influence on your life, or been a blessing to you? And don't forget God, and ALL the gratefulness we owe to Him--- even for every breath we take. Once you have listed out things you are grateful for, thank them! Develop a spirit of gratefulness-- it will help you to never take anything for granted again!
But there is another thing that comes to mind about the death of Mr. X or Mrs. P or Miss L. What if, before Mr. X died, those around him had lovingly enjoyed his good qualities, and from the fullness of their love (instead of the greatness of their fault-finding and criticism-- people so quickly pick up those attitudes, and stiffen against them) had encouraged him to do what was right and to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of God? What if, instead of nagging or seeming distant most of the time, his siblings had been noted for their sincere, constant interest in him, and their enjoyment of and friendship towards him? How much that would have changed--- not only bringing blessings and pleasure in the lives of his siblings, but perhaps change and sincere growth in Mr. X himself!
Sisters in Christ, I plead with you--- don't waste your life! Don't throw it away by not wholeheartedly delighting in your life now and all its aspects! Too soon, life, which is but a vapor, will pass away, and be gone--- and you will discover, with sorrow, that because you did not rejoice and thank God now, you were not able to full enjoy even the events you wasted your whole life waiting for.