July 16, 2013

This is Only Temporary

Last week I was at the beach with my family. There's something about the ocean that inspires me in so many ways. It definitely has a magic of its own. 

Vacation always goes by too quickly doesn't it? I got home and eased back into regular life with a low-key weekend of soup eating and TV viewing.

After hearing lots of chatter about the new Netflix show "Orange is the New Black," I watched a couple of episodes. It's definitely interesting...not sure if I like it really, but there was one line that came up a couple of times and struck a chord with me. 

"This is only temporary." 

The quotes refers to the fact that the show's main character, Piper Chapman, is in federal prison. Since her sentence is only 15 months, she is given the advice that it's only temporary. 

Separate from the show, the line kept coming to my mind. To me, it holds a deeper meaning. Our lives on this earth are so temporary. Even if we live to be really old, like 112 (to me that seems really old), it is but a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of eternity. I guess, if you don't believe in eternity, you may disagree. 

So often I fall into the trap of planning my whole life around something that may or may not happen...the next day, the next week, the next year. The next celebration. The next disaster. I don't always enjoy the present because I'm either worried about or planning for the future. 

Yet you do not know [b]what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
James 4:14 

While I do believe that my life (and yours) is just a vapor -- a temporary thing that passes away all too quickly, I also believe the quote in my beach photo. 

You (yes, you!) are unrepeatable. There is magic about you that is all your own. 

I believe this about you. And I believe it about me. 

That's why I want this vapor of a life, this temporary chaos we inhabit, to matter. 

It looks different depending on the day. Sometimes it means giving a waitress a $20 tip on a $5 lunch because she seemed like she needed it. Sometimes it means giving a stranger the benefit of the doubt, even when I want to yell at them. Sometimes it means not checking my email during dinner with someone I love. Sometimes it means speaking up. Sometimes it means biting my tongue. Sometimes it means going to visit someone I don't feel like visiting. Sometimes it means loving someone I don't feel like loving. 

Because I know that all too quickly, this life will pass away. And since I don't know what it will be like tomorrow, or even tonight, I want the fact that I'm still here right now to matter for something.