When I first met Mae I was surprised that she was 94 years old. I learned very quickly that she wasn’t your typical 94 year old. She had spunk, and a lot of it. Once when I asked her why she parked so far from the church building instead of using the up-front spots, she said, “Honey those are for the old people!” I remember another time while taking a van load of seniors on an over-night trip, she told me, “You’d better keep an eye on me this trip. I’m planning on sneaking out tonight and going man hunting.”
Her family invited me to Mae’s 95th birthday party celebration that year. All of her family was there. I asked her if she liked her big birthday celebration, and she told me with a half smile on her face, “They do this every year. They think it’s going to be my last birthday, so they all show up for a big party. Little do they know that I have a few birthdays left.” Mae was right. She had quite a few more birthdays left with her family.
It was at her 98th birthday party that I asked Mae a question, and her answer has always stuck with me. I’d somehow got a moment alone with the 98 year old birthday girl, and as we visited I asked her, “Mae, I’m curious. You’ve lived 98 amazing years on this earth. If you could sum up all of your ninety-eight years of life, what is the one thing you’ve learned?” Mae leaned in close and with a serious look on her face whispered to me, “I’ve learned that life is SO short. It goes by like that,” as she snapped her fingers.
“Short,” I said, “Mae, you’ve been alive for 98 years!”
And then she said it again, “But it’s gone by SO fast!”
Mae was right, life is so short. You’ll blink twice, and your child who just started kindergarten, will graduate from high school next month. That baby you rocked in your lap yesterday will tomorrow be saying, “I do,” to the one they love. And those you love will soon pass from this life to the next. Things will change! Why? … because life is short. A great lesson taught to me by a spunky 98 year old friend.
My suggestion, since life IS short, is for us to quit worrying about things that aren’t really that important and start living everyday focusing on the things that really matter. Hug your kids today, play catch with your son even though you’re tired, remind your spouse why you married them, call your parents, but whatever you do, don’t think, “Oh, there’s always tomorrow.”
“You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” ~ James 4:14