Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Life is But a Vapor

a visible exhalation, as fog, mist, steam, smoke, or noxious gas, diffused through or suspended in the air
(source: www.dictionary.com)

Have you ever really stopped to consider how short life is?  Have you ever gone through an experience that forced you to confront how brief life can be?  I found it very interesting that the chapter I read in "Becoming a Woman of Simplicity" was on this topic right on the heels of the first anniversary of my mother's passing.  She was 63.  Not old at all - at least not to me.  I have had a miscarriage at 8 weeks.  My first child, a son, was stillborn at 24 weeks.  I was 29 at that time.  I had life-threatening pre-eclampsia.  Two weeks later, I found myself in the ICU with a massive life-threatening pulmonary embolism.  Two weeks after Peyton was born in 2006, when I was 34, I once again had a massive pulmonary embolism which was far worse than the first time around.  In a span of less than 5 years, I had three events which could have easily ended my life...but obviously they did not.  We have Peyton now.  She is five years old.  She has multiple special needs and she is medically fragile.  Last fall, we were watching her lay in the hospital for the 10th or 11th time in less than a year with continually worsening respiratory health.  We talked to multiple doctors about "what if".  Things were not looking good - if she continued on the path she was on, we weren't sure how much longer she'd be with us.  We engaged in serious conversations with the doctors and with the palliative care team at MUSC about what to do in the event she required ventilation, and to what ends we would choose to go to to save her life if we did, indeed, wind up facing a catastrophic event on that or any future hospitalization.  Fortunately, we have yet to enact the plan we prayed and agonized over all those months ago.

I know many of you have faced similar situations and some have experienced far worse.  I babysat a girl when I was younger who, within the past couple years was driving on the freeway, had car issues, pulled over to the side of the road and was hit by another vehicle.  She was killed instantly.  She was in her 20s.  This senseless tragedy could have been so easily avoided.  If memory serves me correctly, this accident was cell phone related.

Life is so precious and so short.  We do not know the hour of our passing, but we sometimes live as though our time is endless.  We allow so many distractions into our lives.  Those distractions pull us further and further away from God, but also from people with whom we should be cultivating personal relationships during our time here on earth.  

Cynthia Heald states, "We are losing our capacity for deep, sustained focus."  We try to be great multi-taskers, but we're losing something in the process.  Consider any event that you may find yourself at.  Where do you keep your cell phone?  What do you do when you receive a call?  When you are with people in person, where is your attention focused?  Are you actually hearing what that person is saying to you?  Do you even care??

We need to be seek wisdom from God.  We really need to pray about it and actively seek it.  We should surround ourselves with wise people.  We should be aware that when we lack wisdom, we should go directly to God seeking it.  He is the source of all wisdom and knowledge!

I know this entire book so far has had the running theme of abiding, but I really feel like this particular chapter is a real call to abide.  Now.  We need to position ourselves to be ready to serve now.  We need to be alert and on guard for the enemy trying to find his way into our lives.  We need to stand firm against him.  Allow God to rescue you from whatever dark places you may find yourself in.  

We only have one life to live and when we compare it to fact that we could be spending our eternity with the Lord, our life is just a vapor; a fleeting instant in time.  Make the best of the life you were given and treat it as the gift that it is.

Psalm 90:12

New International Version (NIV)

12 Teach us to number our days,    
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

reflections on chapter 8 of "becoming a woman of simplicity".  more insights to come as i journey through this book...

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