Hard to believe, but it has been 30 years since I graduated from Miami University in Oxford, OH. In 1983, if I had met an alumnus from 1953, I’m sure I would’ve thought something like, “But that was so long ago; this person doesn’t really know much about college life!” And so it goes. Someone who graduated in 2013 would probably say the same thing about me. When I reflect on how fast the last 30 years have gone, I realize that the next 30 years are going to go just as fast — probably faster. Mom and Dad always say, “The older you get, the faster time goes.
Actually, I also hear this (in one form or another) from some of our residents here at the Sacred Heart Home. I hear it, especially, as I’m visiting in their individual rooms, commenting on some of the photographs on display. Past and present sort of “meld together” as pictures of themselves in childhood stand next to pictures of themselves in adulthood; and pictures of themselves as parents of young children hang next to pictures of themselves surrounded by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Time flies!
The reality that days and weeks quickly become months and years, is no great revelation. This reality serves, however, as yet another reminder that we must take advantage of present moments. None of us is guaranteed a long life (like our residents’ lives) that gives us the opportunity to reminisce over year upon year. From the perspective of eternal life, the difference between what we consider a “short life” and a “long life” is a blink of the eye. The psalmist puts it this way: “For a thousand years in your sight, O God, are like yesterday come and gone, or as a watch in the night” (90:4).
For some, to be reminded of their mortality is anxiety-producing; but for the children of God, who know our destiny to be the Kingdom of God, to be reminded of our mortality is joyful. Sure, we might be afraid of the “unknown,” afraid to leave behind family and friends. Greater than our fear, however, are our hope and belief. We hope that, mostly, our lifetime’s “present moments” have been infused with God’s love. We believe that God’s grace (an undeserved gift) will be ours. And, we believe that God will be faithful to his promise that death/resurrection belong not only to Jesus but to us, his disciples. Let’s not just add years to our lives, but add (God’s) life to our years!