Beyond pleasantries

“It is going to end and soon.” These are the words of one of our local street preachers, shared with me with unusual passion…or was it fear? Or maybe even down right pessimism. My reply: “Yes, you're right; it is going to end and maybe  even before the day’s end! “  He said, "Yes…well, maybe….What?"  That type of suddenness was too sudden for him.

I guess we all like to wrap ourselves in a spiritual bubble-wrap to varying degrees, and to be confronted with an ending when we are unsure about new beginnings may be disturbing.  Wait, who am I trying to fool?….It is VERY disturbing.  Maybe the preciousness of life deserves some questions.

We live daily in the reality that life, this glorious gift of God, can end without a moment’s notice.  We live daily in the reality that life, this glorious gift of God, can go on and on and on, too long for some.  We live daily in the reality that life, this glorious gift of God, is something that we must not take for granted.  

There is truth that it is going to end sometime and, though we may not be able to control fully the circumstances of its length, we are able discern how we will view life. We often ask people how old they are….but rarely, how their 51 years have been so far, or if they have regrets.  We often ask people how their day has been, but rarely do we ask how their spirits are, if their life has meaning or if they are happy.  

My preacher friend is right: it is going to end and soon….Maybe I should ask him how his life is going and what makes him happy.  I might be surprised by his answer and,  who knows, he might be delighted by the question.

Stephen Matthews