With three kids, a business, a husband with a business, a house, a yard, and a very close extended family, my time is at a premium. This means I’m usually running as fast as I can to keep up with everything—and sometimes failing miserably in that endeavor. Recently I was caught between two major obligations, driving from one to the other, and late again.
In my mind I was ticking off all that had to be done when I got home: make supper, give the kids a bath, help with homework, straighten the house, lay out clothes for the morning, pay the bills, reconcile the bank statements… when suddenly the pickup in front of me put on his blinker and veered over to the empty lane beside us. I hit the brakes and then realized why he had stopped. A funeral procession.
Instantly although my first thought was, “Oh, no! I don’t have time for this!” I, too pulled to the side of the road, turned off my radio and stopped just as the policeman and the hearse passed. I looked beyond them to see how many cars with lights there were and realized I was going to be there for a while.
Turns out, I had no idea how long “a while” would be. Because the procession was actually coming around a corner up the road, I couldn’t actually see the whole thing, which could easily have been 200 cars or more. Nonetheless, as I sat there in silence, perspective began to fall around me. Here we on this side of the road were, living our lives, driving in the fast lane to get what we had to get done, seeming to have no time as it was, but when we needed to—out of courtesy or obligation—we stopped.
Life stopped so that we could all take a moment to recognize not only the grief of one family, but so that we could recognize that we, too, will one day be at the head of that funeral procession.
See, death and 24-hours, are the two great equalizers in this lifetime. We each have 24-hours to live our lives each day. You cannot buy more time. You cannot will more time. You cannot even strong-arm more time. You and the wino on the street have exactly the same amount of hours in ever day. The only difference is in how you choose to use that time. However, here is a sobering thought—you and the greatest doctor on the earth also have the same number of hours in each day. He has used his brilliantly. How have you used yours?
Death is our other greatest equalizer. No matter who you are, where you are from, who you know, or how much money you have, one day you, too, will be laid out and leading that procession. The question is, how long will your procession be?
As I watched this person’s procession, it became clear how this person had chosen to use those 24-hours a day that God had granted. Well. Very, very well indeed. The cars just kept coming and kept coming, rounding that bend and lining up until there was a mile of them, and they were still coming.
For one moment that day I stopped on my harried trek through life to really consider where I’m going on this road we call life, what it all means, and whether or not I’m head in the direction that I want to end up. Truth is, it was well worth the stop.
Copyright, Staci Stallings, 2003