I recently finished reading Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference by Max Lucado (review to come soon). In his opening page, he makes the following observation:
By the time you knew what to call it, you were neck deep in it. You'd toddler-walked and talked, smelled crayons and swung bats, gurgles and giggles you way out of diapers and into childhood.
You'd noticed how guys aren't gals and dogs aren't cats and pizza sure beats spinach. And then, somewhere in the midst of it all, it hit you. At your grandpa's funeral perhaps. Maybe when you waved good-bye as your big brother left for the marines. You realized that these days are more than ice cream trips, homework, and pimples. This is called life. And this one is yours.
A few years ago, the saying "Get a Life" was popular, usually used in a derogatory manner towards someone who was paying attention to something that didn't really need to be paid attention to, at least in the viewee's estimation. But Lucado makes a good point, at some stage in our development, we all realize that we have one life to live here on earth and it is up to us what we do with it. Our choices matter. They have both temporal and eternal ramifications.
When did you figure that out? For me, I was about 15 years old. I was in my bedroom which had shutters that opened into our living room. I remember looking into the living room at my father sitting in his recliner reading his paper, and suddenly realizing that my parents had once been young and had lives, and that maybe they had wanted more than what life had handed them - that perhaps they, too, led lives of quiet desperation. It was from that vantage point that I realized I, too, had a life and that somehow, I wanted it to be different. Experience has, of course, given me a different perspective on all of this, but there it was - that moment.
We have one life. Make every day matter.