Blink of an Eye
I remember a Palm Pilot given to me as a gift. (For any young reader, Palm Pilots were the iPhones of the early 2000s.) Holding that piece of technology in my hand was exhilarating. My vision of living the organized life I always wanted was now available with the stroke of a stylus! Little did I know what I wanted wasn’t organization but control. How else might we define organization than the ability to arrange tasks, goals, and people into allotments of time, space, and purpose that serve our predetermined desires? There is an entire industry built on motivating people to organize their lives. This isn’t bad. I’m not anti-organization. In fact, I’d argue nature, as chaotic and complex as it is, operates within an established set of rhythms and rules. Organization is not what I’m to be wary of, but rather the motivation behind my mad pursuit for it.
James confronts me when he writes, “Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:13,14). While I’m busy attempting to gain control of my life, James reminds me how little control I truly have. More than that, our pride can often blind us from recognizing the fragility of our existence. The danger of assuming we are invincible is we can end up prioritizing the wrong things: tasks over relationships, accomplishments over experiences, and objects over people.
I was listening to Missy Elliott’s album, Under Construction, on my way to work one morning and was struck by what she says in her introduction of the album. She talks about how the death of a friend helped reframe how valuable and temporary life is. She says, “When you realize in a blink of an eye you walking down a church aisle and what was meant for weddings and happiness and realize the same church aisle are used to view a loved one for the last time.”
Palm Pilots have almost fully disappeared, but our desire to gain control hasn’t. Today, technology continues to sell us the dream of a more organized tomorrow. While I might still desire that, I’ve seen too many unexpected deaths to know I don’t know what tomorrow holds.
Here are 2 lingering questions:
How might the awareness of my mortality influence the decisions I make every day?
How willing am I to surrender a crucial decision today to Creator?