Over the years I can remember watching several close couples going through the grieving process as one died and the other was left here on earth. So many times I would think about the difference there would be in their perspectives of time. For the one who had died, I remember thinking that the time apart must be relatively brief, knowing that it would be seen in the context of eternity. And I remember thinking of the one left behind – that the survivor should know that no matter how long it was til they were reunited, the time was really just a fleeting moment in comparison to the eternity together to come. I remember thinking that this should be the mindset as they approached each day.
I see it a little different now (nothing like personal experience to change your vantage point). I know that Michael has already begun to experience and enjoy eternity with God apart from this earth. And I know that however many days/years I remain here will seem just a moment when compared to the eternity to come for me as well. But I read recently that, statistically, I probably have 30 – 35 years to live. This means I have somewhere over 10,000 days to live (statistically). That doesn’t sound like such a fleeting moment in time anymore. In fact, it seems to be an unending stretch ahead.
Ten thousand times to wake up in the morning alone in the bed and look at his empty pillow. Or ten thousand times to wake up and praise God for another day.
Ten thousand times to cry over what I no longer have in this life. Or ten thousand times to be grateful for all I do have and have had in my life.
Ten thousand times to sit idle in my chair and let life go by outside my window. Or ten thousand times to get up and out into the world to find my place.
Ten thousand times to mope and complain, to drag the life out of those around me. Or ten thousand times to encourage and walk alongside others who may need a friend.
Ten thousand times to cry over what could have/should have been in my mind’s idea of how my life would turn out. Or ten thousand times to smile and laugh as I go about continuing to live life.
Ten thousand times to be needy and demanding of family and friends with petty requirements of how I should be treated. Or ten thousand times to serve others and give all I have so that my heart can be made full.
Ten thousand times to gossip and criticize others with lethal words. Or ten thousand times to bless and love others with words that speak life.
Ten thousand times to be angry and bitter by holding on to old wrongs and hurts. Or ten thousand times to choose freedom by both offering and accepting forgiveness.
Ten thousand times to close myself into my room where it feels safe. Or ten thousand times to travel the world, far and near, to see new things and share new experiences.
Ten thousand times to eat cold cereal and feel sorry for myself. Or ten thousand times to feast on friendship and banquets of laughter and celebration – food for both body and soul.
Ten thousand times to think my best days are over and behind me. Or ten thousand times to look for how God might choose to use me.
Ten thousand times to think of all the things I will never have again. Or ten thousand times to let God meet my needs since He knows me even better than I know myself.
Ten thousand times to sink into obsessive thoughts and patterns. Or ten thousand times to let God transform me more and more into His likeness.
Ten thousand times to remember Michael’s last days and wonder “what if” and “should I have”. Or ten thousand times to remember a life well lived and celebrate his legacy.
Ten thousand times to mourn a loss. Or ten thousand times to rejoice in victory.
It still seems like a long stretch ahead. May I choose to wisely use the time ahead, however long or short.