Nearly from childhood, we mortals are encouraged, even coerced, with few exceptions, to think longterm. Save your money for a rainy day. Keep your marks up in school so you can attend university. Snag a stable job with long-term benefits-chance for advancement. Stable advice. And, at the right time, find a mate; till death do we part. Think long-haul. Many friendships, once developed, last a lifetime. Some events are short-term. Internships. Summer jobs. First dates. Week-ends. Puppy Love. Adolescent acne. Sadly, promises, for some, meant to be lifetime, evanesce like a vapor. Some social conventions change with time. Politicians think of time in two, four or six year terms. Attorneys bill by the hour. And, pregnancy, no matter how many people you put on the job, usually takes about nine months.
Barely have we broken the seal on 2021. As a rough estimate, we’ve been granted 31,536,000 seconds in 365 days. Few of us think in terms of seconds, unless one participates in sporting events, where a tenth of a second may be a new world record. Neuro-thinkers, ponder questions like, “Can you stop your mind from thinking for ten seconds?” Most are captive to conventional thinking relative to time. It takes charge of us, and we rarely get the reigns back. We have daily planners, weekly meetings, monthly goals, monthly mortgage, and annual reviews-neatly organized on our iPhone. Clean the house and shop once a week. Vacation annually. Work daily for years. Our existence is primarily a quotidian venture. Days run into weeks; weeks into months; and months into years, ad nauseam. French novelist/poet Victor Hugo’s words warn, “Short as life is, we make it shorter by the careless waste of time.”
Your’s truly is convinced that only God grants us so many days on this revolving orb. Those who place their trust in the Lord, who’ve walked with Him for any length of time, understand He doesn’t want us to count those seconds. He wants us to make those seconds count. Have you ever pondered how many seconds are wasted each day? Ironic, how often have we confessed to “wasting a week-end.” Nothing wrong with needful respites. Some squander a life with layabout habits. What could be more grievous than having etched on one’s headstone “He/she loitered through life?” Some pretend to be ever busy at something, but are left empty-handed. Pretense, pomposity, and inanity, in the end, dupes only the pretender.
Some protest, “No talent!” It’s not a matter of talent. Few possess the lofty lyrical talent, or prolific pen of Dante, Eliot, Faulkner or Longfellow. Or the gift of an inventor’s mind like Edison or medical pioneer Dr. Jonas Salk. However, that shouldn’t hinder one’s relentless pursuit to capture a sphere of influence using the God-given resources we possess. It’ll demand a conscious determined decision to make every second count. A split second decision may alter one’s life-or save another’s. Few of us know at that moment what shadow it may cast into the future. How many lament that they hadn’t spent a few more precious seconds with a loved one who has crossed over Jordan.
What will it require of us? How much time? One must exhibit a determined resolve to resist the substantial mirage of chasing the ethereal at any cost, revealing the ever present enmity between our innate self-serving tendency, but respond to a higher calling. Thirty seconds to call one who’s struggling with life’s barbs, to tell them you’re praying for them. Fifteen seconds to text or tweet one you’ve sorely missed. How many seconds, minutes or days have ticked away since that worthy project you intended to finish someday. A short poem, attributed to Ben Franklin, “Mr. Meant-To” says, “Mr. Meant-To has a comrade, and his name is Didn’t Do: Have you ever chanced to meet them? Did they ever call on you?” It concludes, “Don’t be haunted by the ghost of Might-Have-Been.” Endless opportunities are a mirage. More debilitating and pervasive than physical loitering is eternal loitering. Cobwebs of the soul. Admittedly, it’s not an easy task escaping the shackles of banality and convention. Insouciance is no ally.
German philosopher Von Goethe, captured the essence of loitering, with a warning label, “Lose the day loitering, twill be the same tomorrow, and the rest more dilatory.” How many of us loiter as we “lounge” in church? Catering to our own interest, with minds fixed on ignoble, earthly things. The seconds tick away. One has no idea if this will be the last. Why do we find it morbid to contemplate one’s final moments or eternal destiny?
Lamenting must take wings. The ebb and flow of life waits for no one. Could a matter of seconds change one’s legacy? Many have carved their niche’. Serve as a incorruptible politician. Defend the unborn, widows or orphans. Cast a lifeline to the helpless. Storm the gates of heaven with a prayer partner, leaving an indelible mark on a solitary life. Psalm 39:4, “Show me Lord my life’s end and the number of my days, let me know how fleeting my life is.” In these portending days ahead-make every second count. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org