Friday, July 1, 2011

Take nothing for granted

7-8 Oh, how sweet the light of day,
   And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
   Even if you live a long time, don't take a single day for granted.
   Take delight in each light-filled hour,
   Remembering that there will also be many dark days
   And that most of what comes your way is smoke. 
(Ecclesiastes 11:7-8)

The other day Mom and I were chatting about how life slips through our fingers quicker than we realize.  I remember miserably long summers when I all could think of was how much longer it was until we could be back in school (yeah, I actually liked school!).  Mom used to say that I was "wishing my summer away". Today, I simply blink and the day is over!  I look back and half the year is gone!  Before you know it, we will ring in the New Year and you will probably hear those words cross my lips, "Where did this year go?"

I think Solomon was looking back over his life toward the end and realized much to his dismay that many days had passed, opportunities been missed, and dreams left unfulfilled.  We probably feel the same way.  Oh, we may not think our days are quite over yet, but as each year passes, we begin to look back to what has passed and is beyond our grasp anymore.  The truth is clear - we cannot make up for lost time.  What has been a lost opportunity is simply that - lost.

Lest I sound too morbid here, let me explain.  We might have wanted to learn an "extreme" sport in our youth - like skydiving.  In our youth, that thrill of jumping from the perfectly good plane would have carried one sense of accomplishment and thrill.  If we missed that opportunity in our youth, but then seize upon it later in life - say at 60 - we probably won't have the same sense of accomplishment or thrill.  The young adult energy, thrill-seeking mentality, and enthusiasm for life just is not there.  We might feel like we "finally did it", but that is not the same as the thrill we get when we do something the first time we are feeling the urge.

Regardless of the reasons, we all have disobeyed our urges to do certain things - to seize upon opportunities in our lives.  The most regretful of these are the missed opportunities for or within relationship.  For some, these "missed" opportunities may have been unintentional - for others, it has been quite intentional.  It makes no matter - they are "missed".  What may have happened to many of us is that we took for granted what we had.  When it was gone, we slowly became aware of just how much we had lost.

When we take something for granted, we are treating it in both a careless and indifferent manner.  That which is not attended to with the greatest of care is in danger of being lost or damaged.  That which does not have our focus or attention is in danger of being overlooked for its value or worth.  Solomon realized that he had been party to both - he had some missed opportunities to invest in what mattered.  In turn, he had known loss and disappointment.

Lest we end on a low note today, let me encourage you to consider what it is that you'd be the most disappointed to lose.  Whatever that might be - it is the center of your world right now.  If it is "someone" - invest in that relationship wisely.  If it is "something" - consider what value that "thing" adds to your life.  If the value is just not there, consider if it is worth your attention.  In other words, don't take things or people for granted - know what and who it is you are investing your time and treasure in!