Peter 3:8: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
If you do the math*, a person who lives the average life expectancy of about 77 years is really only here for a matter of minutes:
365 days x 77 years / 365000 days = 0.077 days (although, no I didn't consider leap years - too complicated!)
0.077 x 24 = 1.85 hours or 110.88 minutes.
About the length of a movie (or in other words, a "flick").
*(Okay, so the math exercise is also a nice neurological test. Just keep in mind that math was never my strongest subject!)
Anyway, the point is that even for those who reach the average life expectancy, it's not a long time, considering the eternal perspective. For those who get to have Willard Scott show their face on a Smucker's label during the weather report, it's the equivalent of a slightly longer movie (a 144-minute flick).
Normally, though, life seems so huge and long - unless you start looking at it backwards. When I was young, I used to think 38 (55 minutes) was practically middle age. I was dating my husband-to-be when my parents were my age. Now I'm 38, and I'm bouncing two little kids on my knee. I feel like I just started to be a grown-up. I still can't believe that I've been married seventeen years (or 24 1/2 minutes). Like they say, time flies when you're having fun. My dad puts it as, "We get too soon old and too late smart."
I have a dear friend who is also battling cancer. Her mother reminded her that in the big scheme of things, this lifetime is "just a flick of the finger". My friend replied that she wanted a really long flick! So we've decided to just keep on praying for our miracles, so we can start a girlie rock band together, called The Longflicks. (Between her radiation tattoos and my possible punk hair, we could look like a girlie rock band!)
But anyway, whether we get a short flick of the finger here in this lifetime, or whether we get a long, movie-length flick, it still is just a small part of the big picture. As I have had many occasions lately to ponder life in its real context, it changes a lot of perspectives. I've noticed that many of the things that used to easily scare me or stress me out in my "B.C." (before cancer) days seem so trivial now. (Of course, I obviously have new things to scare and stress me, but faith and hope can help keep those at bay.)
The things that happen during our hopefully-movie-length life are so fleeting. Some are joyful, and they never seem long enough. Some are difficult, and they seem to last too long. But really, all of it is just in a moment. A priceless moment, filled with opportunities to make what we can out of it. To learn what we can learn. To love and serve as much as we can. To build things of lasting value, like our talents and our knowledge and our relationships and our faith, because those get to stay with us. To loosen our clutch on things that are trivial.
I just think it's ironic that my favorite movie (my favorite "flick", if you will) is Gone With the Wind (238 minutes or 3.96 hours). If they were God's minutes, it would be a little more than 165 years of lifetime!