A man who lived life to the full, who experienced occasions you and I could never hope to duplicate had this to pass on. Writing in 1Peter 4:2-6 he cautioned not to be enamored with the physical intrigue and pleasure of the material. He observed of a fully functioning individual, “He does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God…LIVE according to God in regard to the SPIRIT.” What an interest expression, “to live with regard or in regard to the spirit.” Peter is claiming, based on his experience, living is more than just living in a material world. There are things, experiences out there we can’t always literally see or sense. Life has a spiritual aspect that must not be neglected. More on “living with regard to the spirit” another time, but Peter is hinting you can’t have the time of your life without connecting to the spiritual aspect of life.
Now for lesson two, which to me is the same as lesson one, but with a different slant. Time, in each turn of events we find ourselves, are moments to be collected and valued. Not that you ever want to live them over again, but these experiences are part of you, you wouldn’t be quite the same person without them. The end product of your personal human life is a collection of a set of finite moments, experiences that molded you into the unique work of art and bundle of stories that make up you. If only we could appreciate that we’ve taken away within us something from each episode we’ve experienced. We’ve learned as much, maybe more, from the bad times as we have from the good times. Either way they’re our times, the times of our personal lives. As humans, we only have so many of them. And you come to discern you can’t always appreciate at the moment while you’re living the episode, how valuable it may prove to be later. What you discover, the excitement you feel, the beauty you share, are the exact same experiences you have in common and share with millions of others, those before you and those after you’re gone; they are the connections that bind you to the progression of humanity.
Value each moment. Don’t make the mistake of evaluating each moment at the spur of the moment so to speak. You don’t know till all the little moments are collected which you’ll cherish most. I’ve had others tell me as they surveyed their lives toward the end of their own finite string of days, “My most cherished times were the seemingly mundane times when I was a kid at home watching TV with my family, father, mother, siblings.” Or ”I remember so clearly when I was just laying in the grass on a warm summer day gazing up at the sky trying to make sense out of the shapes the clouds were drawing.” Those are all parts of the time of my life.
I’ve come to value the admonition of the many Bible verses like the one at 2 Corinthians 6:2, ”I tell you NOW is the time of God’s favor, NOW is the day of salvation.” The biblical sage fervently stresses the most momentous times of your life are the NOWs. The Now won’t be repeated, it can never be experienced again in exactly the same way, it can’t be taken back, and there are only so many of them.
It really irritates me to hear someone admitting to deferring his or her living in the present for a future afterlife. “I’ll wait till heaven to really enjoy life, that’s when the real life begins.” I want to blurt out, “What do you call this existence, just being conscious, is it to be treasured any less than being the most wonderful gift ever to be conceived? Is this time so trivial that it’s worth so little to be squandered and not cherished? Don’t you realize that one of the men who most fervently pointed to the joys and rewards of heaven exclaimed the words we just read,’ NOW is the day of salvation’? Now is all you’re guaranteed. Don’t miss out on the NOW.”
So to me, having the time of my life means being able to revel in the exquisiteness of nature around me, marveling at what mankind has been able to do, his inquisitiveness and inventiveness, the joy of sharing with others, the satisfaction of doing something, anything, constructive especially for others and getting acquainted with my roots to the divine, my divine connection, my spiritual side and then sharing that discovery with others. Exploring, questioning, marveling, helping, caring, that’s having the time of my life.
Finally the author, William Saroyan had one more observation as he surveyed our collective time here, “In the time of your life, Live-so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.”
What a joy to read such words. They remind me that living is a magical time. There is so much to do, so many ways to show our concern for those we love and so many things to marvel at. There’s just not enough of it, time. Let’s appreciate that. I wish for all of you, my friends, that you too may have the “TIME of your life during the time of YOUR LIFE.”