“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun–all your meaningless days.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9)
My husband turns 46 years old today. For the first 35 years of his life this was just another day, one we celebrated with gifts, cakes, even a trip to Disneyland when we were dating. But in 2001 this day changed for my spouse before I even got out of bed. As the towers fell, I remember his mom calling to not only grieve the loss of lives, but a mixed bag of emotions, feeling sad this happened on the day of her son’s birth, and relief that we were safely on the other side of the country.
The scripture above sounds a little sarcastic in my opinion. It emphasizes a “meaningless life” and “meaningless days.” Who of us ever wants to think of our lives–or our pain–as meaningless? If there is no meaning in it all, why bother trying to survive it and create a little joy along the way? Is it all pointless if at any time it can all be lost?
In the last couple of years as I have been learning to balance priorities and figure out what is important, I have tried to follow the advice given by pastor Wayne Cordiero in his book, The Divine Mentor. This is what he says:
Eighty percent of what we do anyone else could do, 15 percent of what we do we can teach someone else to do, but the last 5 percent only we are capable of doing. Only you can be a parent to your child, a wife to your husband, an encourager to someone no one else notices, whatever it may be. And that 5 percent is what God will hold us accountable for.
Most of us get caught up in the eighty percent, believing this is where we will find our meaning, our purpose. But our real calling is only in that 5 percent. And the odds are this 5 percent may be the part of our life that we push aside constantly to check off the other items from that 95 percent off of our list.
I am extremely grateful for my husband, his dedication to take care of his family, that he has recently given me the gift of prayer every morning before leaving for work. His willingness to entertain our son at the park for 4 hours while I rest, that he never doubts my pain or tells me to just try harder. The list is long. Is he perfect? No. None of us are, but he is doing the best he can to be who God desires him to be, even when it entails jumping over some uncomfortable detours.
I know much of the country grieves today, but in that grief, I encourage you to still find reasons to celebrate that you are here, on this side of heaven. We are given the opportunity to remember what is purposeful in our life, to hug our spouse, or call our adult child. It seems cliche to say, “on this day honor those who died by appreciating your life” –but I still believe it is true.
May God hold all those who grieve today especially close to His goodness and give extra comfort. And to my husband, happy birthday, sweetheart. I am so glad we are still here to share this journey together.
About the Author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she has lived with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia since 1993. She lives in San Diego with her family and will be finding a way to celebrate life and her spouse today, most likely somewhere near the ocean where it is easy to remember God’s significance.
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Is there something you will be doing today that is different than other days, to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11/2001?