The e-mail stopped my heart. Sent from a dear friend, his quiet words shouted despair. Old injuries and chronic illness were claiming his wife’s life. The marriage bond between them spanned sixty-eight years.
How does one say goodbye to someone loved that long?
I’d known the man since college. He’d been a professor at the university I attended. He and his wife shared my faith. She loved growing African violets and gave me some when I came for lunch. We ate bran muffins. How long ago that seemed now.
When we are young, summers stretch before us like endless excursions. With the arrival of fall, which happens this week, we anticipate Christmas, which seems to approach on the back of a snail. The hourglass of our lives stretches endlessly, the empty base where the sand falls vacant.
But as life advances, time moves more quickly. Each summer passes sooner, each fall races to the year’s end. Faster and faster it goes. Until, on a day we don’t see coming, the bottom of the hourglass is full. Only a few grains of sand remain to trickle down.
When did that happen?
In the book of Matthew chapter six we are told not to worry about our life, “what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. . . Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns. . .”
Are we not much more valuable than they?
We are to follow the path God has laid out for us. Live each day we are given. Our gifts are unique to us. Talents to use, not waste. Our lives matter to God. When the top of the hourglass empties we have fulfilled our journey, and arrived at the destination God intended.
I grieve for my friends. Life won’t ever be the same. But they have lived their lives well and she will be greatly missed. When the time for her departure comes and she appears before her Lord, when she hears Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, all the trials of this life will fade away and eternity will stretch before her.
Without an hourglass to empty.