“YOLO! You only live once!”
It’s a phrase that I yell before making an illegal U turn. I also shout it out to justify eating too much cake. We use our mortality as an excuse for implusive, reckless, and selfish behavior. Turn on the radio and blast any hit single. Their anthem shouts, “do what you want because tomorrow may not come! Consequences don’t exist for the young and beautiful.” Thinking through how our choices may affect ourselves and others? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Or, we could take the opposite approach. We have one life, so we need to do absolutely everything to coddle ourselves. Hide, run from risk, and eat nothing but raw kale and almonds. We can let the fear of mortality paralyze us. We build walls to stay safe and end up in solitary isolation. We judge the YOLO kids for their decisions behind thinly veiled envy.
Jesus says that he came to give us full lives, but both of those options sound empty. Living rashly or like a coward eliminates the weight of choosing a deeper path. Like a rare gem, the breadth of our lives is what makes them precious. Time is a limited resource. Make the most of it. Not out of fear, not out of reckless abandon, but out of a deep gratitude toward the author of time.
“We are frail; we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Formed in the fires of human passion, choking on the fumes of selfish rage. And with these, our hells and our heavens, so few inches apart, we must be awfully small and not as strong as we think we are.” (Rich Mullins, We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are)
Lent serves to remind us of our mortality. I left an Ash Wednesday service with the refrain, “ashes to ashes and dust to dust” echoing in my mind. I am quite small, with a body sculpted of dust but a soul crafted for eternity. We’re all going to die young. What is a century in the ocean of eternity?
If life is short, let’s leave legacies and make the most of our moments. Everything is precious.
My prayer this week:
God, I am so grateful for life. I’m overwhelmed by gratitude that you spend life with me—that I can live each moment in your presence and learn more about your love. Give me the strength to make hard choices, relationships that help me grow, and a deeper understanding of my part in your story.