The Time Is Short: Don’t Procrastinate

I have never celebrated Ash Wednesday before until yesterday evening, and even then I am not entirely sure what happened, in a way. I understand it to be a tradition that some in the Church participate in to fast and pray and contemplate the Gospel as a community. The Gospel is the driving focus of Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter Sunday when Christ arose from the dead. The key phrase of Ash Wednesday in particular, though, is “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The sign of the cross is marked on your forehead with ash.

In the fall and winter of 2019, I witnessed more reports of death of close relatives than I’d ever heard at once in my whole life. It started only a week after I began working from home, when I had to say goodbye to my grandmother, who died around a week afterward. Then, three other grandmothers died, husbands/fathers died, a church member died, and more whom I have forgotten passed away. I did not want to count the reports, but it was easily over ten. Old age, heart attack, cancer, and even gunshot took the lives of these mutual relations. It was a heavy burden to bear, sometimes, to hear.

It came to perhaps a climax when someone in my company whom I did not know but others knew died for an unknown reason. Though I received his name, I could never find his face when I tried searching for it. This unusually dismal but warm winter rounded out with news on several celebrity deaths, like Christopher Tolkien’s.

While we do not know when our time may come, and eternity and the present are our realities, we must forget what is behind and press forward toward the goal to win the prize in Jesus, if we follow Him. Cast off the things that easily entangle us and set our eyes on what will matter in the end.

Although life being short is one reason not to procrastinate on making the most of every opportunity, there’s another reason I find to keep going. When I create something, I am at time capturing something that I see in life and imprint it into art. If I do not catch it before it fades away, it is gone, and my artwork will not be the same without the reference. Even the siding on someone’s house matters in a painting. Whatever opportunity you have to bear fruit, make the most of it.