Sunday, February 27, 2011

This Is Your Time Here

If you take some time to think about it, there are probably about three kinds of folks in the world…

1. Those who constantly relive the past
2. Those who are always thinking about what they want in the future
3. Those who can’t see past the next weekend

Which one are you?

I think I’ve been number two for most of my life. On the other hand, I do probably spend too much time reminiscing about what used to be as well.

When you’re living in the past, you spend an inordinate amount of time wondering about what might have been, or kicking yourself for wrong decisions. You walk yourself through past situations and events over and over again; reliving glories that were, or almost were, and wishing you could go back and do it again.

Where’d my life go? Am I really this old? I wish I could go back.

Reminds me of the song Flies on the Butter by Wynona Judd

You can dream about it every now and then
But you can’t go home again

When you’re always focused on the future, you are never content with what you have in front of you. All you can think about is what you don’t have and wish you did. I need a bigger house. I need a nicer car. I need a better job. More money. More toys. Prettier wife. More handsome husband. There’s always something else.

I know guys who’ve spent years upon years working 7 days a week and 10 or 12 hours a day. What’s the point? Can you ever arrive where you want to be? Why earn all that money and never have a chance to actually live your life?

Reminds me of George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

He was so busy looking for his future that he couldn’t see the life he was living right in front of him.

Some folks don’t seem to care about the past or the future, but are completely focused on what makes them feel good at the moment. They don’t care if cigarettes cause cancer. They want that drag. They don’t care if someone gets pregnant. They want that sex. They don’t care if they hit someone with their car. They want that buzz. They don’t care about heart disease or diabetes. They want those fries…all the time…everytime.

They live in the moment…but, only in the moment. No foresight. No hindsight.

Reminds me of some lines from Life’s Been Good by the Eagles:

I go to parties
Sometimes until four
It's hard to leave
When you can't find the door

It's tough to handle
This fortune and fame
Everybody's so different
I haven't changed

They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time
(Everybody sing) Oh yeah (Oh yeah)
I keep on going guess I'll never know why
Life's been good to me so far baby,
inside the Sad Cafe.

You may be wondering what has gotten me thinking about this. Let me explain. About a week and a half ago, I was asked to perform the eulogy for my sister-in-law. In that role, I shared some thoughts during the funeral, and then I also had some closing thoughts at graveside. In those closing remarks, I wanted to encourage those mourning to move past the pain of the moment, and focus on the future; on what could be. I wanted them to realize that they cannot change what has happened, but they could go on with their lives and make a difference with their future. In doing so, I shared the following lyrics from John Mellencamp’s Your Life is Now.

See the moon roll across the stars
See the seasons turn like a heart
Your father's days are lost to you
This is your time here to do what you will do

Your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now

Would you teach your children to tell the truth
Would you take the high road if you could choose
Do you believe you're a victim of a great compromise
'Cause I believe you could change your mind and change our lives

Your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how

Your life is now

To me, Mellencamp’s message is to recognize that the past is the past. We have this moment we are in to make a difference in this world. We need to think about what difference we can make and take action. It is the balance of all three viewpoints from above. We learn from the past. We think about what kind of future we want to see. We live in the moment with a view toward that future.

It is always a challenge to make a difference…to make your life count toward something worthwhile. But, God gives each of us talents, strengths, and gifts to use to make a positive difference in our communities and our world. 1 Peter 4: 10 - 11

Here’s a link to someone I heard last weekend that I think is doing what he can to use the talent that God has given him to make a difference:

It is a challenge to me. Is it a challenge to you?  Are you ready to make a difference?

This is your time here to do what you will do.

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