Life (is but a vapor) Lessons from “This is Us”

Do any of you watch “This is Us?” I love it. I hate the way they drag it out and take forever-long breaks, but good grief, every episode just tears at my heart in a beautiful way. We watch it on Hulu, so we don’t catch it until usually a few days after it’s come on TV and this week, we just watched it last night. If you do watch this incredibly well-written show, you will understand and relate to this post. If you don’t, you should go watch it. My husband thought it was going to be a girly show, but he’s just as into it every week as I am (and don’t tell him I told you, but I catch him wiping his eyes sometimes too, secretly…lol…and I love that about him). Anyway, even if you don’t or haven’t watched it, this post will resonate with you because it’s true for us all-life is but a vapor, as the book of James tells us.

So let’s talk about this week’s episode for a minute. As I balled my eyes out when Jack was looking back on the memories he didn’t really get to make with his mom, it just really hit me how quick this life passes us by and how many of us will look back on missed opportunities-things we never got to do with or say to those that we loved, time that we didn’t spend together while there was time to do so, effort that wasn’t put forth because other things got in the way, or misunderstood feelings/emotions/circumstances in relationships that weren’t worked through in a proper way and the distance just grew and grew and we always assumed we’d have time “one day.”

And when one day finally comes, it’s one day too late because the person is gone. And we never got to say all the things that we held inside for so long-good or bad. You see, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. You could be the youngest, fittest, healthiest person on the planet and get flattened by a bus tomorrow. Or have a heart attack or stroke as we are seeing happen on the world scene among top athletes right now. Don’t think just because you’re in the prime of your life that you will make it to 80. I think that’s what most young people think. “I have my whole life ahead of me.” Well, maybe you do…but God has every one of our days numbered and how do you know He hasn’t numbered yours at 18? 25? 32? 44? 56? 67? 82? You get my point. He will take you when He’s ready and the rest of us have no say-so in the matter.

The point is, we need to love the ones we’re with while we can. However long that is. And do the things that will bring joy to our relationships. Make sacrifices for the other person’s benefit. Learn how to cultivate healthy relationships–even if that’s not been the history between you. God’s mercies are new every single day and YOU…I…WE…can show mercy and grace, love and forgiveness to others. It may be a process of working through past hurts, allowing both parties some time to heal, and asking for the other person to work with you to start fresh and build something new. Something healthy, something worthwhile.

We don’t want to leave this earth and have the people we leave behind feel guilty and full of regrets. Or maybe I’m speaking for myself. I don’t want this. I want to leave a legacy that I loved my Lord and Savior so much that I was a genuine expression of Him to everyone that I had the privilege to know and love. I don’t want to be on my deathbed, awaiting meeting Him face to face, and be sad about all the things I could have, should have, would have done and said before my soul found its eternal rest.

The truth of the matter is, I bet we can all think of someone (or more than one person) that we would love to have a closer relationship with. And we can give all the excuses in the world, and that’s exactly what we saw play out in this episode. Jack came from a rough home life with an alcoholic and abusive father and his mom left the picture with Jack’s help and made a new life, and the distance between the two of them just continued to grow through the years and they didn’t really know each other by the time she passed away. So when he found out she was gone and went to the funeral and spent a few days in the town where she had built this new life, he learned about the woman she had grown into and was broken at the thought of what could have been. Memories they could have made, had they been intentional about making the time to do so. She loved him dearly and all of the people in her new life knew all about him and his family but Jack had no idea about any of them. Sometimes we tend to take it for granted that people know how we feel about them, even if we never say it, show it, or make an effort to stay connected to them. And sometimes we don’t do those things because we think they don’t want us to, or that they are better off without us, or that maybe they’ll reject us. I don’t know why we do or think the way we do, honestly.

But the truth is, every girl and boy…every man and woman…no matter the age, needs their mom and their dad. They need their siblings. They need the people in their lives who are supposed to love them and be there for them. Relationships are messy. It’s part of the human condition. We are all sinners in need of a Savior and the Good News is, we have one. Jesus Christ died for those sins, to bring us into a relationship with God Almighty, once we have repented of our sins and trusted in Him for salvation. And He gives us the Holy Spirit to live inside us and transform us into a new creation. When we experience His abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness, it absolutely changes us. When I see how He has forgiven the unforgivable in me, it allows me to freely offer forgiveness to others.

I actually plan to share this post with several family members, as God has put them on my heart as I write. In fact, I will address this next part directly to them (I will not include names obviously, but if you get this sent to you, please know this is directly from my heart to YOU):

I love you dearly. I meant everything that I said above and it was completely inspired by the Holy Spirit. God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent Jesus so that you can have a relationship with Him and have that gap bridged. You must repent of sin and follow Him though in order to receive this precious gift of salvation. I know that I have given you the Gospel so many times over the years, so while I’m not going to go into any more detail on that, just know that this is the best gift and word I can give you. But also, if our relationship has been strained in some way, if it just never was what it should have been, please let’s bridge that gap as well while we still have the time and ability to do so. You matter to me. Our relationship matters to me. I want to love you well. I want to spend time with you and even if we don’t currently have a close bond, I want to have that with you. You are worth it to me. I want you to be in my life while there is still time–whatever that may look like. Will you make the effort? Will you take the time? Do I matter to you? I hope and pray that I do and that we can have a fresh start. Again, I love you.

To everyone else, remember, life truly is a vapor…here today, gone tomorrow. How can you make sure you don’t have any regrets at the end of your life (whenever that may be)? I urge you all to think about this and prayerfully consider this message. Until next time, God bless y’all.

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