"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14 (NIV)
When his mom held out the time capsule at one-year-old Jason's birthday, it seemed like a fun idea.
"Add one item that represents this year and write a letter to Jason, telling him what you think life will be like 17 years from now." Letters were thoughtfully penned and placed in the time capsule, as well as newly minted coins, a toy car, headlines from the local newspaper, and other items.
This year Jason turned 18. We were surprised when his mom pulled out the dented can with the faded blue and green blocks on it. Many family members had forgotten about it.
For the next hour there were tears and laughter as memories came spilling out.
Tears as Jason's dad read his letter, remembering a young father who hoped he wouldn't make mistakes with his little boy.
Laughter as older cousins, now adults, read their letters expressing child-like birthday wishes in misspelled words.
Tears as Jason's mom pulled out three separate letters from grandparents no longer on earth. As she read their words written to her once-little guy, she barely made it through.
Laughter again as Jason held up a 1995 headline on the price of gas rising. "Man, wouldn't it be great to go back to those good old days!"
In the midst of the fun, I was reminded of how much and how quickly things can change. I thought about words I want to speak to those I love. By not speaking them, I am acting as if my friends and family (and I) will always be here, taking for granted what is right in front of me.
The time capsule caused me to take a fresh look at those around me and really apply a lesson found in Scripture. James 4:14 says, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (NIV). In other words, life is fleeting and we're wise to make the most of this very moment, because the next one is not certain.
I paused at the door as we left the party, resolving that day to say the words in my heart, and say them often. To not miss an opportunity to encourage or say "I love you."
Not far away, my mom made her way to the car. She turned and waved goodbye.
You're so beautiful.
My dad made a wisecrack as he passed by. He turns 80 next year.
I love you, Dad.
My sister, strong and lovely. She's had a hard year, but her faith has shined through.
Do you know you are my best friend?
My brother, Jason's dad.
You've turned out to be such a great dad. I'm proud of you.
My hope is that one day there will be a time capsule of my words tucked away in the hearts of those I love. Words clearly spoken that friends and family can recall when they think of me.
What about you? Is there someone who needs to hear your sweet words? To know you love them? To hear that you are proud of them?
Begin your own time capsule of words, depositing encouragement, a kind word, an "I love you" in the heart of a loved one. Don't hesitate to start. Right now is the only moment we're sure to have.
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of today. Help me to use my words to encourage and show appreciation to the beautiful friends and family in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Are there words you wished you had spoken in the last 10 years, but didn't? What prevented you from speaking them?
Take an opportunity to tell a loved one that you love them or speak an encouraging word today.
Job 8:9, "For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, Because our days on earth are as a shadow." (NASB)