I ran across a quote earlier this week that seemed very timely.
He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.
-Horace, poet and satirist (65 BC-8 BC)
This past weekend was my grandpa’s funeral. He was a calm, hardworking man with an easy chuckle, a houseful of stories, and an unshakeable faith in God.
He was 102 years old, and up until the last month or so, had lived a very full and active life. He lived alone since Grandma died eight years ago, and still drove his own car. His family helped with meals sometimes, but he was still very capable of preparing roast beef and potatoes or making a fruit cobbler, and he did cook frequently. He drove to the local nursing home nearly every day to visit the “old people,” who were all younger than he. Until the last year or two, he constantly puttered around in his wood shop, so I have many things in my home that he made–heirlooms to pass down. He made many, many things, including
wooden TV trays
and one of his most famous creations–many wooden dominoes! I have two sets.
Think of the patience required for those! Grandma helped with the painting.
Many of these and other projects were repeated dozens of times, since he made one for each family member, and he has a big family! His three children, ten grandchildren, and 53 great-grandchildren have all been recipients of his creations. He also had 5 great-great grandchildren, two of whom he hadn’t yet met.
What a blessing to have a grandpa for so many years. We’re going to miss him.
I look at the countless things, and the many hours of time that Grandpa gave to others, and I wonder…what have I given? If I were to disappear from this earth right now, what would others have to remember me by? What am I giving of myself? Am I blessing others with my life?
This man, who lived for over 102 years, had more opportunities than most to “postpone the hour of living.” But he didn’t–he lived his days to the fullest. When he retired from farming, he continued to paint houses. When he finally retired from painting, he still worked with his wood projects for years. He kept busy, which I really think may be a part of the key to his long life.
And it makes me ask myself: What am I doing with my life? And what should I be doing with it? Am I living it to the fullest, or am I “postponing the hour of living?” I have a tendency to simply let life happen and go with the flow. I also see a tendency in myself to plan and to talk a great deal more than I actually DO.
Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)
I can’t help reflecting on how many things I intend to do but never quite get around to…all the home projects that I plan but never finish…all the people I’d like to visit or call or write to, but find myself getting sidetracked…all the quality time I intend to spend with my family, but find that the time instead gets gobbled by other things. And I wonder if I am “postponing the hour of living.” Is my life mostly blossoms that quickly fade or buds that never come to fruition? Am I missing out on the real fruit? And if I am, can I change?
How can we live our lives to the fullest? Keeping our minds busy and bodies active is vital, but how much is too much? I see some families who hardly have time to get to know each other because they are so busy. Filling every moment with appointments and outings is not the answer, surely. The very thought exhausts me. We need time for reflection and rest–those are a part of a rich life, also. Where is the balance?
Lord, fill me with your Spirit, direct my thoughts, guide my steps, make my path straight. Help me to see you and know you, and show me what you would have me do. Give me the resolve to follow your leading and the strength to fulfill your plan for me. Lord, I desire to live a life that is full, that is fruitful, that points others to YOU! Keep me from time-consuming, worthless pursuits, and direct my hand to the things that make a difference for eternity. Lord, just live YOUR life in me and through me!