When You Only Got 100 Years To Live

Yesterday I attended a funeral for a dear man who lived ninety years on this earth.

Ninety years.

The funeral home played a looping montage of photos from his life.

A young man in a suit standing beside a truck.

A young man in a different suit standing beside the truck with a young woman.

A wedding.

A young man standing in the back of a small house posing proudly in his garden.

A different truck with a business logo on the side.

A couple holding a baby.

And another baby.

The farm full of netted Christmas trees.

The photos changed from sepia to black and white to color.

The man grew heavier and greyer and so did the wife but the family shots included more and more people.

Weddings, birthdays, vacations, newer trucks, silly shots with grandbabies, anniversaries.

The man with an oxygen tube wearing a birthday hat blowing on candles on a 90th birthday cake surrounded by smiling family.

1920 – 2010 In memoriam.

Music played as the montage began again. Maybe it was ten minutes long. Ninety years highlighted in ten minutes of photos but it said so much.

The funeral was modest and brief. Attendance was light except for a contingent of firefighters, there to honor one of their own.

It struck me that from the photos, no one could tell how much money the man had made in his life or what status he held in his career or how fast he could run or his weight or his IQ or his credit rating.

I just saw one man who loved one woman for sixty-six years, worked hard, raised a family, served his neighbors and updated his truck every few years.

Imagine what history he witnessed in ninety years. Wars, economic highs and lows, presidents, the rise and fall of entire regimes, earthquakes and famines, terrorism and trials but in a small town in the smallest state, one man lived, laughed, and loved.

It made me think how small we are. How fast a lifetime speeds past. And yet how much love even one simple man or woman can experience and offer. How many lives one life touches with the power to build up others or tear them down.

Casting Crowns recorded a song with this chorus:

“I am a flower quickly fading, Here today and gone tomorrow. A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind. Still you hear me when I’m calling, Lord you catch me when I’m falling,
And you told me who I am. I am yours. I am yours.”

Watching this dear man’s life fly by me on the small video screen reminded me of Paul’s speech in Acts 17:24-28

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.”

Some of us are striving so hard these days. Those of us who love the Lord feel the pulse of the times in which we live and we can sense the slowing heartbeat of this earth as it begins to gasp toward the end of the age. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves beyond what is already there.

It used to bug me before, when the writers of scripture reminded me how small I am against the backdrop of eternity but I’m beginning to see that as a comfort, a reminder that it doesn’t all rest on me.

God is big.

It is in God that we live and move and have our being.

And at the end of our time on this earth, which has been appointed by God, what we have done for love will remain.

I am small but He is big. Some of us have to stop trying so hard to be bigger than we are that we forget it’s not our job to manage the world.

I didn’t see a perfect man on the video screen or lying in that casket. But I did see a man who managed to love and to be loved through the insanity of the past ninety years on this planet.

Make this your to-do list this week, loved ones:

1)Love God
2)Love those He has given me to love.
3)Love those I encounter through the day.
4)Love those who are far away.
5)Love the stranger that I meet.
6)Love the passer-by on the street.
7)Love an enemy.
8)Listen for the heart of God beating all around You, loving you and promising not to forsake you.
9)Drink in the love of God as though it were the very water of life in a long, dry desert.
10)Listen to the heart of God as it beats for those around you and trust Him to supply you with love to give them. Inhale the love of God and exhale His love to others.

The Casting Crowns song also says this:

“Not because of who I am. But because of what you’ve done.
Not because of what I’ve done. But because of who you are.”

He is so big and we are so small, my friends, but that is not a judgment, that is His gift to us.

So exhale today. Breathe a little. Laugh. Look around you and see God.

Love and be loved.

One hundred years passes by in a heartbeat but there is more. An even greater adventure lies ahead and He is there, too, forever.

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This video was posted on Youtube and can be found there at http://www.youtube.com/
The photo on this post is my father (now 75) and my daughter (now 17) and both are very much alive, living, laughing and loving.

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    The Conversation

  1. sirena says:

    i’m glad someone posted this on facebook and i was able to read it. i think it’s humbling to realize how small you are in the greatness of the universe but uplifting to realize God still loves us he still laid his life down to save us. i used to think i had grace forgiveness and humbleness down until i recently encountered a few people who hurt me and i put them on my enemy list. i was hurt because of pride i wasn’t trying to forgive them because i had forgotten about the grace that was granted to me for all my wrongs. i’m not just trying to love my enemy but i’m trying to forgive the enemy and take them off that list. and as far as i’m concerned when i die i hope i’m not remembered for the money i had or the status i had i hope when people look at my life they see Jesus.

  2. Edie Melson says:

    Lori, great post. It comes at a time when I’m having to make some hard decisions about what direction to take. God really spoke to me through this. Thank you!

  3. Karin says:

    In the last 2+ months nine dear folks, family and friends, have gone home to be with Jesus. Many of us have talked exactly about what you mentioned in your excellent ‘to-do’ list. May God help us to realize what matters and what really doesn’t. Thanks for your beautiful post.

  4. Sirena, thanks for dropping in – I’m glad you found me! Are you Zack’s friend Sirena?

  5. Love to have you over here, Edie! God bless you in your decision making.

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  7. Thanks, Carmen and Brandy!

    Karin, you are most kind.

  8. Jodi Marze says:

    Wonderful post and I am sharing!

  9. What a powerful post! It has really touched me in a deep way today. Thank you!