Posts Tagged short

The Shiny Side Up! Rev. Susan Sparks – “Life”

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you had a lovely holiday.

Recently, I saw an image on Pinterest that said “Life*” at the top, then underneath, in small print by the asterisk, it said: “Available for a limited time only, limit one per customer, subject to change without notice, provided ‘as is’ without any warranties, your mileage may vary.”

While this was meant as something to make people laugh, it actually packed a powerful message. Amazingly, we tend to believe that life comes with some type of warranty that promises things will always be easy, fun and painless. And when it’s not, we complain—incessantly.

We complain about the weather. “OMG, it’s so cold, when will it ever stop?” Then, two months later we carp: “OMG, it’s so hot and humid, when will it ever stop?”

We whine that the trains and buses are late. We moan that people are rude, the stock market hasn’t done well, or that the grocery store is out of our favorite item. Recently, I was at Whole Foods and I heard a woman complaining to the manager that they were out of her “soy milk substitute.” First of all, what is soy milk substitute? And second, why would anyone want it?

We waste so much time complaining about the superficial things that we miss precious seconds, hours, days, even years of our life. It’s like the Jewish prayer: “Days pass and years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles.” We must be grateful in the good times and the bad, for, in the end, it’s still life.

Warnings like “life is short,” get greeted by eye rolls and shrugs. Yes, we’ve all heard this saying many times—which I think is part of the problem. I’m afraid we have heard it so much that we have become immune to it.

But there is urgency in those three short words. Things can change in the blink of an eye. We don’t know what is going to happen from one day to the next. We don’t know if we will be given tomorrow—or even the rest of today. Just look at the headlines: random shootings, tornados that tear apart entire towns, soaring cancer statistics. Life – is – short.

It is also sacred. The Psalmists offered this wisdom: “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14). Life is the greatest, most sacred gift we have. Sure you may think other things are important, but if you didn’t wake up this morning, then what difference would it make?

Life is short. Life is sacred. And, because of that, it should be celebrated in the good times and the bad. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself: a long line at the DMV, the dentist chair or the chemo room, it’s still life and there is joy to be found in the simple taking of a breath.

The author Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote, “People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

Find that light. Strive to be grateful in all circumstances. Use that gratitude to inspire and lift up others who are mired in difficulty.

We were never guaranteed that life would be easy, or fun, or painless. Yet, even in the pain, we can be grateful for the simple gift of being alive. And, if you find yourself struggling, use these few words as your mantra: “it’s still sacred, it’s still a gift, it’s still life.”

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Too Little Time by Matthew Hanisian

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Too Little Time

Posted on February 22, 2013 by matthewhanisian

Last week, on Valentine’s Day morning, at around 1:00 a.m. my best friend’s mother died.  I had been to see her mother earlier that night to pray and simply be present.  I received the call around 1:20 a.m. and by 1:45 a.m. was with my best friend and her father.  Her mother now lay at rest in a bed, the struggled breathing I had heard only hours before now gone, her body at peace.

Although the death was not unexpected, she had lived to be almost 90, there had been a rapid decline–only a week earlier she had been alive and in reasonably good physical health.  It was a true blessing to be there in that dimly lighted room; to be quiet, reverent…to anoint the body with holy oil, to pray together the Litany at the Time of Death (BCP 462) and to pray for her eternal soul.

Since then there have been dozens of cards and letters, flowers, well-wishers, visitors and phone calls.  The outpouring of love upon the family has come from around the globe, some from people who haven’t been in contact for years and years but felt compelled to, “tell you how much you and your mother mean to me.”

There is a blessing that crept into my mind on Monday and hasn’t departed.  It is taken from the words of the poet Henri-Frédéric Amiel:

“Remember that life is short and we have too little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So be quick to be kind, make haste to love, and may the blessing of God Almighty: Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and always.”

Life is short.  And, in the end, I wonder if we will have said to all of those who have been special in our lives, or kind to us, or who have taught us, or even loved us, that they are important to us…that they “mean so much” to us?  My guess is that we probably will not have said those things to even a fraction of the number of people who have had an impact on our lives in a positive way.  Why is it that we allow that to happen?  How much time does it take to write a quick note or letter, or even email, to someone to tell them that you are thinking about them and that they are special to you in some way?

“Life is short and we have too little time,” my brothers and sisters.  Take a moment and tell someone that is special to you that they ARE.  In doing so you are spreading this wonderful blessing and touching the life of another.

In Blessing and Peace,

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