Often as youth we see life as long and spread out before us as a banquet that is continuously replenished. The choices are endless and we are free to pick and choose at will. And presume that this will last all our lives. But as we age we see that life, really, is quite short.
We live for 70 years, or 80 years if we’re healthy, yet even in the prime years there are troubles and sorrow. They pass by quickly and we fly away.
(Ps 90, 10)
The speed that life passes seems to increase quite rapidly and those many dreams must be sifted and many swept aside as we make a few choices in life. We might store them for a while but the reality is that they are not possible and we eventually let them go.
A late vocation limits choices as well; whether for marriage or priesthood and religious life. Many orders and priestly societies have an upper age limit on entrance. Once past that marker age it is often rare to find entrance and thereby your choices in life have been restricted.
But for the rest, for life generally, I am reminded of the colour green. Green for life. While I am sitting writing this post – notebook and fountain pen in hand – I am on a ridge high up overlooking the neighbouring hill country in northern Malawi. Blue sky, blue Lake Malawi in the distance, and green, green vegetation in all directions: lush and green.
Our lives are like that for the most part. We are living and breathing in our own environments and surrounded by people also we are connected to. We live and breath making our living decisions in full sunlight. These lives are not long. We know that. But what we do while the wood is green in our lives is ours and can be enriching to ourselves and others. Look at the beauty we see around us in nature and people. We are indeed blessed and should always be thankful for what we see and live. We have life – the greatest gift. We are grateful – you and I – for what we are given.
So let us run and be sure to use this precious gift for the service of God. Never waste a moment thinking this life has not beauty and no use. Our service will make it of use if we permit and are led.
“Remember that the Christian life is one of action; not of speech and daydreams. Let there be few words and many deeds, and let them be done well”
St Vincent Pallotti