“You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.” Psalm 39:5 (NIV)
We snuck the old 8 mm movie cylinders out of the home. The box was broken down on one corner, and the blue cases inside were fragile.
I remember the first time I watched them. My mother-in-law took out the archaic projector. She flashed the films on the wall. Some of the films were fragile, and they’d break over and over as she tried to show them. Soon, technology changed so much we couldn’t watch them anymore. The box got dustier and pushed back further in the closet.
We took the box out secretly, because we didn’t want to get her hopes up. I went to a local vendor and asked if there was anything he could do. He took those precious memories out of my hands and promised to try.
A few days later he called me back. He did it!
When we gave my mother-in-law the DVDs that held over 50 years of her life on them, she wept.
So did I.
Way back then, when the flickering film was projected in her living room, I appreciated it, but I didn’t see it the way she did. Those films held pictures of her mom and dad. They showed how chaotic it was for her to be a young mama. She treasured them because life was changing. She was a grandma, and some of those precious people were no longer in her life.
As we watched the movies this time, my mother-in-law sat nearby. Her hands shook; she now uses a walker to get around.
Today, I’m the grandma. Many of the people who seemed so young back then are no longer here.
In today’s passage, the psalmist describes life as a handbreadth, which is a measure of four fingers. It indicates how brief life is. While the writer of this psalm lamented that he put too much emphasis on wealth and things of the world, I’m reminded of other distractions.
I admit that sometimes I live as if my precious moments aren’t valuable. I take people for granted. I disengage as I scroll through social media, while real live people whom I love are nearby. I pile on work and activities, promising to spend time with those I love on another day.
It’s so tempting to value what has no lasting value at all and overlook what we’ll one day label a treasure.
That night, I looked around the room. I took in the faces one by one, appreciating something about each of them. I put my phone in my purse. It wasn’t nearly as important as talking to the one next to me. The room was crowded and noisy, and I realized that one day it would be quiet — for those little ones would be all grown up.
We shot our own videos that day with our phones and snazzy technology. One day, we’ll look back at those and laugh. We’ll weep at who is no longer with us. We’ll talk about how young we all were.
My hope is that I’ll watch it and know I didn’t live those moments disengaged or distracted. That I engaged in my own life in the handbreadth of time I was given, valuing all those I love.
Heavenly Father, despite what’s distracting me from the goodness right in front of me, show me the true value. I may not be able to put it aside fully, but show me how to give it the proper place in my heart and my life. Lord, help me treasure precious moments as memories in the making. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 144:4, “They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow.” (NIV)
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In Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads, Suzie Eller shares how faith helps us determine what really matters and what is simply a distraction.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one way you can show your appreciation for your loved ones today?
© 2017 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.