What If ...
My neighbor died last week. He was an older gentleman who lived across the street. I didn’t know him, so his death, in and of itself, left little impact. I’m sorry for your loss. That’s sad. Must have been his time—kind of impact.
But I’ll never forget it.
The day he died, he had been mowing his front lawn with a push mower. I suppose the strain was too much for his heart and it had quit. The mower’s track—the diagonal stripes, perfectly spaced and perfectly even, stopped half way through the yard. One side neat and trimmed. The other unfinished.
The gentleman had started the yard that morning assuming he would finish it. Get the house ready for his grandson’s graduation party. Do some mowing then run to the store for the lemonade and bag of ice. Maybe get some time later to read the New York Times chucked at the end of the drive.
But time ran out. His name in the Book of Life had been on that page.
In the Bible, James says: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:13-14).
Oh, the best laid plans in the face of time.
It’s natural to plan. We all do it. It is not a bad thing to order our days. Think ahead. Set goals and move toward them. But here is where the danger lies. Where it deceives and distorts. Where it robs us of the very minutes and seconds we have been given …
When we are apt to live our lives in the “plan” and miss today.
This is my admonishment for myself. I am a dreamer. I live, not in the moment, but in the potential. The what could be. I see myself there, somewhere in a hazy future that may never come to pass. The when’s take over … When I get there, when I have this, when I …
Harry Potter’s Dumbledore said it this way: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
Because the when’s and what if's of the future propose only air. Nothing I can truly grab onto.
But today??? Today offers the sustenance of life.
What does your day look like? Is it filled with work due tomorrow? Worry for next week? Next month? Next year?
Those thoughts and plans and ideas may be important, but don’t live there. Don’t sacrifice what is right in front of you-- A sweet time with your Creator. An hour with your child, just the two of you. A walk with a loved one. A hand to someone in need. A kind word to a hurting soul--for the vapor of a what if.
You see, tomorrow will wait. It has to. But today will not. Grab onto those cherished moments that will carry on after the mist fades.
For two days, the grass tracks from my neighbor's mower remained, until someone finished the job.
But the tracks left an indelible imprint on my mind—a forever reminder that I have only today to make a difference.
My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass (Psalm 110: 11).