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Monday, November 02, 2009

Life is short

James 4:14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (ESV. See here for ESV copyright information.)

My mother lived over 99 years. But that was a short time, measured against eternity.

I have mused a lot on many things in the past couple of weeks. One of those things is the passing of time. One of our nephews, and his wife, put together a slide show, which was available to visitors at the funeral home. It's a good job, and I'm glad they put it together. But it shows that time passes, and we can't bring it back. There were photos of ancestors of mine that died before I was born. I never knew them.

One photo that particularly interested me was one of the brother next in age to me, with me, messing around on the rocks in a stream near where we once lived. I don't remember the occasion, and I doubt if my brother does, either. But it looks like we were having fun, and I'm sure that we were, some six plus decades ago. I can't go back there. I'm not sure I can find the place, I can't play on rocks quite as well as I used to, and if I do find it and go back, most likely my brother won't be there with me. That experience is gone.

There was a lot of stuff in the old house. We took some of it, and others did, too. That's fine. Some of these things are nice to have, some may be valuable, some bring back memories. But none of that really matters. Sooner or later it will all be forgotten and worthless, or just lost. Things don't last, any more than experiences do. A lot of that stuff is gone, and the rest will be, eventually.

I was happy that a friend of ours came to the funeral. I hadn't seen her for fifteen years, since my Dad's funeral. Being able to talk with her reminded me that relationships are very important, more important than experiences. I should have gone to the funerals of her parents. My relationships with my extended family, with friends, and, above all, with Christ, are the only things that really matter.

Thanks for reading.


George said...

I really like this line of thinking about the difference between experience and relationships. Sometimes I get lax in this area and find myself pining for lost experiences (nostalgia) more than putting forth the effort to revive or nurture relationships. That's the thing about a relationship: unlike experiences, it can lay dormant for years, and with a phone call or visit, it can spring back to life. Thanks, Dr. L.

Bonnie said...

So true, Martin.

Part of that relationship is legacy, such as traits, or practices. My husband reminded me of this the other day when I was expressing frustration about the lack of reception my writings seem to receive in some circles (not by you, though!) He reminded me that my main influence is, and ought to be, on my children. So rather than spend a lot of time on my writing, I should focus on my relationship with my children--schooling them, raising them, loving them. And investing in people who return my interest :-)

btw, my grandmother lived to her 100th year as well. Almost a century! A mere puff, measured against eternity, but still pretty amazing.

FancyHorse said...

So true, relationships are more important than things or memories of the past. We forget that sometimes.

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, George, Bonnie, and FancyHorse.

God help all of us to do better at personal relationships.

paulette3 said...

Please accept my sympathies on the lost of your mother. I didn't know until I read your blog.
You said:
My relationships with my extended family, with friends, and, above all, with Christ, are the only things that really matter.
I just wrote something similar on my blog.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Paulette.