It’s A Matter of Time

We’ve all heard that dreaded phrase on more than one occasion in our lives.

Surely you can recall a time in the classroom taking a timed test and you so desperately wanted/needed just a few more minutes to complete the still unanswered questions that remained on your test sheet. (You were probably really wishing you had studied harder)

Maybe it was as an athlete in a critical sporting event and the final whistle blew before you could run perhaps just one more play that might have secured a victory for your team.

And surely you’ve played some board game as a child and raced against a clock that rang out some obnoxious sound before you could complete the designated task.

Just a few more minutes…or even seconds…was all you needed.

We’ve all come to learn that there is usually another quiz to take, another game to compete in, and most likely another game board you’ll play with your kids. And the dreaded clock will continue to tick and someone with an edge in their voice will quickly inform you that ‘time is up’.

But what about another ‘clock’ that continues to ‘tick’ that often times goes unheeded or paid little attention to until the ‘final buzzer’ goes off. It is the time span that each one of us has been given to live in this temporal world in a ‘game’ we call….Life.

I don’t mean to come across sounding morbid and dark as I write these words. But to be perfectly honest, this thought or theme has been on my mind of late. Maybe it’s because of my age…a ‘midlife’ issue that I get to wrestle …dealing with my own mortality. I also wonder if it is related to what seems to be numerous cases I have heard of relating to people and friends of mine who have died or come down with serious illnesses in recent years. Most likely a combination of both.

But the fact remains, each one of us has been given only a limited time to live in this world. And some day, when we least expect it, there is going to be a voice of some sort, that will whisper the harsh reality that our…’time is up.’

Then, there will be no more test to study for or games to play. No amount of pleading will send our game into overtime.

That will be it. I don’t know how that strikes you, but for me, it is a sobering reality.

I write these words on a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon here in northeast Texas.

Today, life is good.

Earlier, I got to watch my Texas Longhorns escape Nebraska with a narrowly won victory in the closing seconds of a close game. I am currently sitting in our local coffee shop indulging in a frozen German chocolate drink and enjoying the use of the local wireless internet on my new laptop computer.( a newly acquired luxury for me). It’s the weekend, I’m healthy; my family is healthy, I have a good job, an enjoyable hobby, and more blessings than I know what to do with, … not to mention plenty of firewood stacked ready for winter. *smile*

As I look up and take in the local scenery, I see a picturesque day with people of various ages coming and going and I am keenly aware that life can change so quickly for any of us at any given moment.

I find myself savoring moments like this. Taking every minute and relishing it. Because I know that I am not guaranteed tomorrow. None of us are.

And it’s in moments like this, that I also find myself asking if what I am doing with my life truly matters. Am I doing something that has lasting value? Do I make a significant contribution to those around me? Am I living life to the fullest?

I guess the one nagging question that won’t go away is this: If I was to be informed today, that my…’time was up’, would I be able to smile with satisfaction knowing I had, borrowing the words of the apostle Paul, ‘finished my course & completed the race’ and fulfilled what I was put down on this earth for to begin with. Because I believe some day, we will stand before God Almighty…the one with the ‘stopwatch in hand’ and give an account while addressing that question.

I don’t know about you, but I sure want to be like that student who truly studied and put his pencil down a minute before his test was over with all the completed (and correct) answers; or be the QB who takes the bench while his understudy finishes out the closing minutes of the game with a comfortable lead.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s healthy to be preoccupied with ‘death’. We really should be consumed with life, and living it to the fullest. But how many potentially great moments have been lost simply because…a player, a student, an individual…ignored the clock?