Thursday, June 26, 2014
I LOVE our two lilac bushes. I love their beautiful color. I love their wonderful fragrance. I love how they are so cheerful to look at, but most of all, and I love how they reassure me that spring has really, truly arrived. (In our corner of Northern Ohio, this is a genuine concern. Sometimes, our winters seem to have no end!)
The only thing I do not love about the lilacs is how short of a life span they have. About the time I notice the bush is in full bloom, I had better act quickly if I want to bring any inside to enjoy. In a period of about two weeks, the bush goes from just a hint of color, to full flower, to nothingness. Once the flowering has ended, the bush becomes quite unremarkable. It has literally transformed from an object of beauty and happiness, to a nuisance to mow around in the summer.
The lilacs remind me of how brief our span is, as well. Although we live much longer than two weeks, when compared to all of eternity, our 70, 80, or even 100 years, are very slight. Yet, despite this “moment in time” that we inhabit, we are a thing of beauty, much like the lilac bush in the spring. I am humbled when I consider that the God and Creator of the universe knows my name. I, who am here today, and will be gone tomorrow, am not only known, but beloved.
But, unlike the lilacs, we never “fade.” Even as we age, and are perhaps not lovely to look at by the standards of beauty that the world espouses, we remain precious and beautiful to our Father. I am challenged by the examples of many of the older persons that I know. While many fear the process of aging, there are those who look it square in the eye and determine not to become bitter because of lost youth. I greatly admire their courage, and the graciousness with which they face health challenges. But, most of all, I feel blessed when I observe their spirit. They are not “useless” or a “nuisance,” like I jokingly referred to the lilac bush when it had faded. Rather, they shine with the light of God, as they continue to look for ways they can serve and give of themselves. Many who are confined to bed at home, or in a care facility, can still pray and be an encouragement to others. I truly believe that there is no such thing as a useless life.
I have often commented to my better half that, “I want to be just like ____________ when I get older. She is so amazing!” Several times, my husband has gently commented, “She spent her life serving. It was not something she just decided to do when she got older.” In other words, these women that I admire were amazing long before their elder years. The kind of person I want to be when I am old begins right now, and is the culmination of the kind of person I am throughout my life. The challenge is to make good use of the “moment in time” we have been given. Questions to ponder: What habits am I cultivating right now? What qualities do I want to nurture in our children? In myself? How can I serve God in my “moment in time?” What will you do with yours????
In His Peace,