What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.—James 4:14 ESV
I was 14 when I first experienced the death of someone in my circle. It was a 16-year-old tuba player in our high school band—a boy who had delivered our newspapers and on whom I had a serious crush. Just a few years later, another young friend died suddenly. Both young men died from congenital heart issues, further establishing that youth did not provide immunity against death.
Just a few years after that, I lost my mother and sister to suicide. My grandmother came next, followed years later by aunts, uncles, my father, several friends and a cousin. Recently another loved one joined the ranks of those we have lost.
With most of my life in the rearview mirror, I am still learning to cherish each moment. It’s easy to get caught up in the demands of each day and miss those moments, but I remind myself how quickly life can change. Will I hear this person’s voice again? Will I see this view again? Will I hug him or her again? Will I have this opportunity again?
So I hug people longer. I call them more. I’m quick to tell them that I love them. I’m more present when I’m with them. I take more photos, and I save unimportant photos just to give me context for each day. I try more new things. I find things to look forward to with the advent of each day, month or year. I try to live each day without regrets. I pray more. And I take better care of myself, knowing this is a stewardship I have before God.
My husband and I feel the fleetingness of life. We have both surpassed the ages of two of our parents at death. For each of us, it was a surreal moment but also a humbling privilege. For now—for today—we get to live. Like our bodies, this day is a stewardship. What will we do with it?
Maybe you’ve been around long enough to know what it feels like to anticipate an event that quickly becomes a memory. Maybe you, like me, feel as if you just celebrated a certain holiday or birthday when the occasion rolls around yet again. Maybe you, like me, have lost precious loved ones. Or maybe you’ve lost years to spiritual or emotional inertia.
Pray the Lord will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have devoured, and make today your new beginning. You may have decades still before you, or you may have days. Whatever you have, make it count, before your mist that appears for a little time finally vanishes.