I stared at the screen in disbelief: “Today is a very sad day. I lost my loving wife of 12 years. She is with the Lord now. Prayers…” A co-worker’s wife had passed away after a long battle with cancer.
My mind immediately flew to another message years ago, announcing the sudden death of a childhood friend and her baby son, crushed by a head-on collision with a truck. She was in her early twenties, hardly beginning marriage and motherhood when an unfortunate accident ended her life on earth.
I had wrapped my arms around her widowed husband in an embrace, holding back tears as I recalled hugging them both on their wedding day just two short years before. He looked at me and said, “I’d give anything to go back and have just 10 more seconds with her.”
We know that life is short. But in the midst of dirty dishes, mounds of laundry, and endless errands, we begin to forget the specialness of the mundane.
The seconds trickle into minutes and months of sameness, and we forget why we got married in the first place.
We mutter about how he forgot to take out the trash again or how she forgot to pack lunch again. These little annoyances pile high until they become as menancing as Mt Everest. Who can scale such a summit day after day?
We need grace. We need perspective.
And we’re not the only ones.
In his psalm written during desert wanderings, Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Moses was in the middle of the mundane. Day after day, he and the Israelites walked the hot desert sands, listening to complaints about food and arguments about who’s better than who.
Not that I’ve ever argued with my husband about who does more chores around the house. Nooooooooo.
Oh wait. Actually, yes.
You see, we have more in common with the Israelites than we’d like to admit. We’ve been blessed with our spouses but we’d rather have something else. The manna’s great, God, but give me some of that quail. Oh, yeah, meat’s good, but where are the leeks?
Not ringing a bell? How about, I appreciate that he likes to tinker with cars, but why can’t he just take it to the dealer? or Yeah, she tries to keep us healthy, but if I have to eat one more dinner salad, I’ll go nuts!
Yep, sounds like a lot of marriages stuck in a rut.
But what if we’d take 10 seconds to picture life without our spouses?
What if the next time we wanted to tear down our spouses for THAT THING they do that annoys us, we’d take 10 seconds to thank God they’re still with us?
As Elisabeth Elliot once said, “The lonely widow would give anything to hear the sw
eet sound of her husband’s snore just one more time.” Having been widowed twice, she would know. And many widows around the world know, too.
Sometimes we feel like we won’t be able to endure another month with our spouses, let alone 50 more years. But we don’t have to worry about those years or even the next month. We need only to love and appreciate our spouses here and now, in these 10 seconds in front of us.
The truth is our days with our spouses are numbered. And we will all one day write that status update with tears in our eyes, wishing for just a few more moments.
Let’s make these moments count. Right here. Right now. 10 seconds at a time.