omeone recently related an experience with me ending it with “Life is Short.” In other words, temporary discomfort wasn’t worth enduring in the hopes of finding long term pleasure. For a variety of reasons, this comment stuck with me for several days. It just felt wrong on so many levels to me. The situation aside, it was the idea that life on Earth is so short that we have to grab at our immediate desires to be free and happy.
I was raised with a different saying, “Life is a very long time…” Anytime that I was tempted to bear a grudge, harden my heart or act impulsively in a situation, my mother would remind me, “Life is a very long time, and how you treat people now will only serve to humble you later.”
The problem with “Life is Short” particularly in the Christian life is that happiness isn’t an intrinsic right. Another oft quoted saying in our home, “God never said that you would be happy only that you would find joy.” Happiness is the “Life is Short” mentality..the “if it feels good now, do it.” Joy is the “Life is a very long time” mentality meaning that true depth of feeling will happen over time and with that depth of feeling will be a peace and contentment-no matter what the temporal circumstances.
My mother was right. It has never failed that the people that I have pushed away the hardest have only become very important to me at a later point. Romans 12:18 states, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Imagine the paradigm shift if everyone tossed, “Life is short” and embraced, “Life is a very long time…”
I think our world, our families and our relationships would be the better for it. I know that in my home, my sons are learning the wisdom of kindness and respect above all and that life, indeed, is a very long time. A long time in which to show grace and tolerance and acceptance to people not where we would like them to be but where they are.