Jim Croce wrote the hit song, Time in a Bottle in 1970, the night he found out his wife, Ingrid, was pregnant. Just three years later, he was killed in a plane crash. The lyrics speak to the heart of every person. After all, who wouldn’t want to capture time and put an end to the inevitable march towards death? Of course, we can’t! Time marches on. One day our life will be reduced to a three-to-five-minute slideshow that our friends and family will watch at a funeral home. What story will your slide show tell? Please read more…..
For a variety of reasons, death seemed to fill my thoughts this past week. A distant relative of mine passed away at age 89. He had been married for 70 years. I went online to read his obituary and the funeral home had a slide show of the deceased’s life for all to see. It struck me that upon our passing, no matter how long we lived, our life will be reduced to a series of photos on a screen.
I didn’t know this relative well. I had only met him a few times. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see what photos the family chose to tell his life’s story. From the time he was a young man, until the time he was a great grandfather, each picture seemed to have something to say about a specific moment in his life. Many of the pictures told a story of enduring love through his 70 years of marriage.
“Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears”
Without a doubt, the years of life fly by in a hurry. Life clearly is laden with happiness and tears. In addition to the death of my relative, a good friend of mine died this past week at age 78 from COVID-19, and yet another friend of mine was placed in Hospice care as a result of complications from his battle with COVID-19. Over the last few weeks several other people I know, have succumbed to this horrible pandemic. I am sure most of you have somehow been touched by it.
If you read last week’s message, you know that I was also diagnosed with COVID-19. My wife also came down with it this past week. Thankfully, we both seem to be on the mend. I want to thank all of you who offered prayers for us. Many of you shared stories with me about your loved ones who have had this virus. Most recovered, tragically, some did not.
“If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you”
These words are a beautiful expression of love. We all want to hold on tightly to those we care for. None of us wants to lose someone to the grip of death. Of course, death is inevitable for all of us. Which brings me to my point. How do you want to be remembered? What pictures do you want in your last slide show? What story will those pictures tell?
One funeral home’s website gave some pointers to prepare a slideshow. It recommended keeping the slide show to no more than 3-5 minutes with no more than 2 songs. It recommended photos of your loved one that show them in the various stages of life. It said the video should communicate the personality of the one who has passed. It said you should collect photos that show relationships with their spouse, children, friends, and even pets. It said the slideshow should include important dates and events such as graduation, jobs, children, memberships, hobbies, armed forces, volunteer work, special vacations, and more! It also suggested that going through these pictures could be helpful in dealing with grief.
Hopefully, Lord willing, we will all be granted the time to make many more lasting memories with those that we love and care for. Any of these moments might be worthy of becoming a picture in our final show. This discussion of death begs an important spiritual question. Are we prepared to die? Are we prepared to stand before the presence of God? If not, there is no better time than right now to make the needed changes. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Right now, as you begin this new year, invite Jesus into your life, even if you have a thousand times before. Begin living every moment of life in a way that demonstrates your love for God and your love for neighbor.
Our life is but a vapor. We are here and gone. We cannot capture time in a bottle. Each day is but one more picture in our final slide show. Don’t take time for granted. Make each moment pleasing to God!
Click here to read a poem I wrote 2 years ago about the gift of each new day.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the precious gift of life and time. I know that one day my time on earth will end. Until that day, help me to follow in the footsteps of your Son Jesus and help me to love others as you love me. Amen!
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