I have a number of blog posts ideas ready to go, but somehow putting pictures of the process of putting in our new pool liner, or the other ideas, seem very "surface" after the passing of Mike's sister last weekend. A death brings a sober and serious response, which it should. It is a good thing to pause after a death for awhile, to realize again that our life on earth is but a vapor, and that we must be serious about our time here.
I do, however, have an essay that was given to me just this week by my friend Karen, mother of my former student Matt. He won a major extemporaneous essay contest at his college with this entry, writing it in under an hour. It is a tremendous piece of work and it expands on the thinking above. With their permission I am reproducing it on this blog.
IN JUST A MOMENT by Matt Sullivan
"In just a moment, the performance will begin." "The doctor will see you in just a moment." "In just a moment, I will forward your call to the next available clerk." Life is full of events that may happen in just a moment. That moment may be full of happiness, tragedy, surprise, or enjoyment; but whatever it is, it is just a moment away. Many consider a normal day monotonous, but with these "in just a moments" waiting to happen, life becomes full of unexpected happenings.
Consider a single man, mid-20's, on his way to work. In just a moment, he will meet the love of his life after he spills his double-shot expresso all over her new blouse. However, this recent college graduate is too busy catching up on the current events in The New York Times to even notice the beautiful blonde standing right next to him. With a quick shift in position, his morning pick-me-up turns a new pink J-Crew blouse a sort of yellow-brown. In the midst of the resounding burning of the hot coffee and the repeated apologies of the young law graduate, in just a moment two sets of eyes that have been searching twenty-three years for each other finally meet. In just a moment, the young man has himself a date that night.
A scenario like this may seem a little far-fetched, but "in just a moments" affect people in serious ways every day. In just a moment, a seasoned officer in the Marines on his second tour of duty will experience the quick sensation of a sniper's shell lodging into his heart. However, right now his mind is back on his twenty-acre ranch in Texas with his wife of eighteen years and their nine- and seven-year-old girls. He walks through the fields of grain with one hand feeling his crops and the other holding ithe hand of his love. He smells the approaching summer rains and closes his eyes to partake of God's glory all around. In just a moment, the officer's mind will return to Iraq and the end of his life. In just a moment, Texas will have one less farmer.
It is frightening to think that in just a moment, life may end. Only God's hand holds the blood vessels around your brain in place so that you do not suffer a stroke. Only His power keeps every cell functioning as it should in our bodies. No man holds a monopoly on time, and in just a moment, life can vanish like a vapor.
In just a moment, Joseph Shank will run into the arms of God. He has no idea, and neither do any of us. I'm too busy reading British literature on a Wednesday night. His parents are arriving home from church. His brother is shadowing a doctor in town. In just a moment, all of our lives will change forever. He is running around the high school track around 10:00 at night. In the cool October night, he sits down to rest because his heart is giving him pain. As he stands up, he runs a few more feet and leaves this life forever. He is eighteen years old.
In just a moment, I will see the face of a friend I knew all my life, now lying in a casket. As I walk down the aisle of the church I have grown up in, I realize Joseph will never walk that aisle with me again. As I pass his body, and the tears flow on October 22, 2010, I realize that in just a moment, everything could be over.
I experienced firsthand that "in just a moment" event, and my life was changed forever. The shock of that day still resonates in me, and forces me to evaluate my life. I realize that as I write this essay, in just a moment I could be in heaven. This thought forces me to live every moment as if, in just a moment, I could say goodbye to this earth.
Because none of us know what lies in the next few seconds of our lives, we must live every moment as if it were our last, for the glory of God. Life is too short to be lived for ourselves, and there is great reward in living every day for Jesus Christ. In just a moment, I will set my pencil down and finish this essay. What happens after that remains to be seen, for who am I to say that I will even leave the room I am seated in. In just a moment, I will discover what the next second holds.