Wishing Our Lives Away

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.—James 4:14

Do you ever find yourself saying any of these things?

“If I can just get through this week . . . “

“Once this deadline is behind me . . .”

“As soon as this project is done . . . “

“I wish this day were over . . .”

Let’s be honest: If we don’t say them, we think them. All of us do. We find ourselves wishing days, weeks, months or even years of our lives to go away because we’re convinced what lies beyond them is better than what we now know.

Maybe it is. But maybe it isn’t. We can’t really know.

What it all boils down to is we’re wishing our lives away. Those days, weeks, months and years are precious and finite. We can never relive them. We can never reclaim them. They are gone. And, before we know it, so are all the days of our lives.

Because I’ve lost so many friends and loved ones, people young and old, I’ve always been aware of my mortality. But being a woman of a certain age has made that awareness all the more keen as people of my generation pass by droves into eternity. I have learned to cherish the gift of life because I have conditioned myself to look for the good in it.

As we reflect on our lives, we can see even our hard days have had good moments. Sometimes those moments are only visible in retrospect, with much time and distance behind us. But even in the midst of them, we have likely known the love of friends and family, the kindness of a stranger, the beauty of nature and the provision of a good and ever-present God. These are not moments to be wished away. These are moments to be cherished.

And if you’re so caught up in just wanting this day/week/month/year to be over, you may completely miss them.

Treasure time with friends and loved ones. Give thanks for whatever health and strength you may have. Freeze-frame the view out your window, and relish the feeling of the morning breeze upon your skin. Enjoy moments, because moments are the substance of our lives.

Maybe—as if you want to add to your load, I know—you jot down memorable things about each day. Don’t think of it as journaling, which scares most of us to death (too committal). Descriptive phrases will do: “Gorgeous sunset at the end of a crazy day,” “Nice to know my coworker is praying for me,” “Enjoyed dinner with special friends.” Or catalog moments using your camera app.

Live the life God has given to you to live. Live, while you still can. Live each day to the fullest with gratitude and purpose. Tomorrow is not a guarantee, but today is your present. Make the most of it. And stop wishing your life away.