I am such a curious bird. I watch people; I find them interesting. I usually watch to catch a glance and flash a smile. Smiles are God’s encouragement without words, and I often use that form of encouragement. Yep, just like Buddy the Elf, you could say smiling is my favorite too.
Catching a glimpse into somebody’s life, watching him or her round up their funny kids, or a young couple trying to decide about anything is always enjoyable to watch. But my absolute favorite is watching old couples—you know the ones. You just instinctively know they have been together for decades, and they are the ones who command my attention and definitely my respect.
On this day, I watched as an elderly couple were having breakfast in the hotel lobby. I saw years of handholding, tears shed, and deep heartache that God healed. I also saw much dancing and days turned into years of laughter.
When I see old couples together, I’m careful not to stare or get caught watching. I watch anyway, though, looking for proofs of love and how they made their marriage last. As I watch, I usually see the two have become one person.
Right from creation God made man and woman to be together. “Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, an in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman—no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity” (Mark 10:6-8 MSG).
Just like Scripture foretold, the two shall become one. Although this unit happens overnight when married, the unifying takes practice over time to perfect.
As I watched this couple, I saw “the two have become one” in their thoughts, actions and words. Seeing that they’ve been used to caring for the other and putting the other first was easily recognized. What a gift for each of them! Where one stopped, the other started. I sat and imagined all the hard years of practice to become this automatic in responding to one another.
As my mind wondered and danced through their life, I saw the woman reach for her pillbox and down her daily combo to keep going. In that moment, I am reminded that time is short. The air left my lungs as I paused, wondering how many more years they’d have left together. Then I wondered how many years any of us have left together. And as I woke myself from the daydream of love, romance, making marriage work, and the combination of aging, I looked up, and just like that they were gone. I was quickly reminded of Solomon’s old adage: there is a time for everything under the sun…
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)
Hate what is evil, but love the sinner. Hate the sin, love the person. Show love to yourself as you sin, repent, and yet sin again.
Whatever season you’re in, remember it’s just that—a timed period that will end. Enjoy the easy stuff and endure the hard with a heart of gratitude. Carry each other’s burdens as it is written to do so (Galatians 6:2).
Under heaven, abide in God’s timing and live by His clock. Live well; love well. Mourn with those who mourn. Laugh with those who laugh and dance with those who dance….or start the conga line yourself!
And most importantly of all, praise God through every bit of it!
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” (Ecclesiastes 7:14 NIV)
In the end, what matters is how well we’ve honored God above all else in all the seasons of our lives. It’s how well we’ve shown love and kindness above the worldly desires of our hearts. And it’s how well we have loved and cared for each and every person God has placed in all areas of our lives, whether or not we know their names. The Father’s clock is ticking. Time is fleeting; make today count and love well friends.