Life seems to be speeding up. I especially noticed this acceleration during the past year when I moved to New Jersey from New York City, Looking back, I cannot believe I have already lived here 6 months! In many ways, this relatively short span of time feels like an entire lifetime. The Lord has given me so many new and beautiful blessings and provided them all in only six months. However, now I have been confronted with that common question “what did you do this summer?” on several occasions, and each time I always draw a blank, because I feel as though I just celebrated Memorial Day and it is now almost October! The kids are back in school; the new seasons of prime time are premiering on television–two clear signs that summer is over. I find myself growing anxious and wondering whether I am doing everything I should. Despite all the miracles I have experienced recently, I crave more and fear I am getting too comfortable–sitting on the sidelines while life passes me by. My deep desire to marry and have children, accompanied by the concern that this will never happen, begins to rear its ugly head.
As if on cue, while I am drowning in my personal misery, the Lord’s voice intervenes. I was sitting in Mass this morning and the gospel reading was from Luke 16, regarding the story of the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus. The rich man enjoyed his reward in this world, but was doomed to suffer after he died for the rest of eternity, while Lazarus suffered his entire life on earth, but was then rewarded in heaven. This gospel allowed me to view life from a better perspective. I am spending so much time worrying about making my life significant here, but I should be focused on what comes after my life on this planet is over. However long my life on earth might be, it is only a single moment in comparison to the eternity that awaits after my death. I often fall into the trap of convincing myself that I need to be married with children to make my existence meaningful. The fact is I don’t! My whole life will be as God wants it to be, and if I never get married, I have faith He has a greater plan for me that cannot involve marriage for some reason. After all, I can spend eternity with the best bridegroom ever, Jesus Christ. As for having children, I could always adopt, which might be a very valuable way to serve the Lord as well as my “neighbors” in this world.
I must learn to turn my gaze away from myself and my personal desires. As evident from the rich man’s story in Luke’s gospel, that focus will only lead to suffering. I need to trust that God holds my life in the palm of His hands, and He will make sure I find happiness, even if it ultimately comes after death. I need to think more about my neighbors and love them in the precious time I have on earth. Yes, time is moving faster, but instead of becoming caught up in the worry of losing time, I will now consider each day as one day closer to eternity.