I was out sweeping the leaves off our newly painted deck today and the fresh, autumn air brought me back to the many hours I spent playing in the woods. In a way it seems like only yesterday when I was climbing up my favorite tree or raking a huge pile of leaves to roll into from our big hill at the back of the house. Then again, it seems like only yesterday when I was married and found myself with four little ones ages four and under, and the days seemed like they would never end. Time has a way of playing with our minds, creeping like a turtle when we do not enjoy something, but flying swiftly by when we are having a good time with friends and family. We blink and find ourselves at the end of a long tunnel, with the memories of what just happened trailing along behind us.
Our neighbor in the house directly behind ours, passed away a week from yesterday (Sunday), and he was 72 years old. Again, my mind drifted as I swept the leaves today, to only a few weeks ago when he would come running out his door, in the way that only a man with Parkinson's disease could do. All through his trials I never heard him complain about it, and he always remained upbeat and positive about his future. He came to church with us a few times, when he could get away from being a radio announcer on a Polish Polka station, but he especially loved our church gatherings when it came to banquets and picnics. He always made a friend where ever he went, and nobody was a stranger to him. We were thrilled when a friend at church led him to the Lord, so we are comforted to know we will see him again in heaven. He loved telling people how strong he was getting and often showed them how much straighter he could stand, and always had a cheerful way about him. The circumstances were not the best at his house, so he liked to come and have dinner with us once in a while, or just sit and have coffee with Joe and enjoy some good, friendly conversation. While he could drive he would make the rounds and drop in and visit his circle of friends, but as this year swiftly flew by, so did his strength and his ability to drive. The last time I saw him to talk to was a morning when he needed to run some errands. I drove over and picked him up and took him to all his stops where he needed items and then took him home. He was getting tired by that point and I knew he would probably crash for the afternoon. I am sorry to see him go, but going in his sleep was the best way he could possibly enter into the gates of heaven.
Last year, a little girl in my K5 class said, "The earth is like a fishbowl and God is watching us like we watch the fish." I stopped and thought about that for a while. To God, the earth must look small and fragile, with the humans going about their lives without realizing what lies just beyond the rim of our habitat. We make the circle of life: birth, living, then dying, with a new person to take our place...it almost seems monotonous. But God created people to spend time with Him. Adam and Eve were created for God. We must not forget our mission in this life is to lead others to Him.
I often wonder if God looks down at us and shakes His head, wondering if we humans will ever learn our lesson...the lesson that life is just a minute to Him; that if we will just do what He says and make the most of our time here on earth by showing others the love that He has shown us, He will reward us. Spread the Good News of Jesus to those who are perishing around us. Share the love of Jesus, and enjoy the minutes that God granted you by giving them back to Him.