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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

forced perspective

How many times have you heard someone grieving a lost loved one say: "Appreciate the time you have. Hug your loved ones and don't take time for granted."?  

We've all heard it a million times.  We hug and love and a short time later....forget.  Because we don't know, we don't have that force and necessity to realize that each and every moment should be taken in because it's the only one, just like that one.  Eventually we all become the person who preaches to others to appreciate every single moment, because we didn't.

What if we knew, not the day or the hour or even the month, but a general sense of how much time we had with someone?  What if there was an awareness that 1, 2, 10 or even 20 years was all there was left?  Would we waste it in fear of the last moment or would we pay more attention in the little moments?  
Would we love more deeply?  
Would we tell them more often what we love about them?  
Would we wish for more time to "get more done"?
Would we get less done to spend more time differently?
Would we love more extravagantly?
Would we give more?
Would we take less?
Would we receive more easily?
Would we be more patient?
Would we be more helpful?
Would we be more kind?
Would we be more intentional with our words and actions?
Would we spoil them more?
Would we re-categorize what is really important? 
Would we be angry less?
Would we laugh more easily?
Would we blame less?
Would we apologize more?
Would we address misunderstanding with more grace?
Would we be more fun?
Would we work less?
Would we smile more?
Would we desire things less?
Would we desire time and touch more?
Would we be more creative in our expressions of love?
Would we ask for more, or less, of the people around us? 
Would we listen and hear more clearly what they say...and what they mean?
Would we concentrate more on the needs of others?
Would we concentrate on our own needs less?
Would we create a legacy worth remembering?
Would we create a legacy worth teaching?

What would be important to us if we truly understood what today was and wasn't?  Would our priorities be arranged differently?  Would we waste our time worrying that we are wasting our time?  Or would we simply slow down and have a greater appreciation for all the little things?

The conundrum is this: Some would receive knowing how much time is left as a gift and would focus on what they could do for others in the time that was left.  Others would receive knowing with fear and dread, they would live out the rest of their time using the end as an excuse to be self focused.  There are vast positions in-between those extremes where some would fall into place but I think those two would comprise the majority.

So if this kind of information would change our perspective for the positive, why can we not change our perspective without it?  If not knowing means we might waste today having no idea that tomorrow we will kiss the grill of a bus.....why then does not knowing make love and time less urgent?  It seems illogical that this not knowing gives us this strange false confidence that our time here is infinite.  It's strange to really think about how unaware we are of our choices.  We love and woo so deeply when first we fall in love because we know that a lack of effort might bring that "end date" more quickly than we'd like.  Later however, things change...fade.  We start holding more tightly to grievances instead of each other.  We overlook blessings in our lives, straining for the things we desire that are just out of reach. Why does not knowing not wake us up? 

Just something I've been pondering lately.  Watching how people love each other....and how they don't.  Wondering what it takes to change a person's focus, their perspective of time, effort, life...their circumstances and relationships.   

Is it better to know, or not to know? 

Don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.
~Matt. 6:34

I can't help but think that Jesus modeled this for us.  This man, all divine and all human, completely connected to His Father in heaven.  He knew the limits of His time here, He warned people He wouldn't be around to forever touch and hug.  They didn't hear Him.  I wonder if they had truly understood what He was telling them, if they would have spent their time with Him differently.  Would they have paid closer attention?  Would they have hugged and laughed more?  Would they have poured out perfume on Him themselves, instead of looking at it as a waste?  Would they have recognized how the God of the universe chose to spend His 33 years here?  Would they have seen that He chose to spend His last 3 with them? Would they have fallen asleep during His last moments, His prayers, tears and urging to stay awake? What was that like for Him? To know and know they didn't have a clue.  Someday it will be amazing to sit at His feet and listen to the stories.....though I suspect, sitting at His feet, I may not care about those questions anymore.

Blessings of easy, over-exposed love and a perspective on life that is beautifully unforced.
the Mrs.

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