By Rick Hamlin
A Prayer for the Moment
Sometimes just the right prayer drops into your life when you need it most. Sunday morning our pastor ended the service with this blessing: Life is short, and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us, so be quick to love and make haste to be kind.
“Who wrote that?” Carol whispered.
“I’ll ask,” I said.
The day was going to be tumultuous. After church we would drive to the hospital, where Carol’s dad had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. How long would he last? What sort of treatment would he get? Was he even strong enough to take any treatment? If ever life seemed short, it was now.
“I don’t know who wrote it,” our pastor said. “I just picked it up from someone else.”
“I’ll Google it,” I said.
Our visit with Carol’s dad was a good one. He was mentally sharp, full of observations on life, ready to retell some of his favorite stories. “If that’s the last time I see him,” Carol said when we left, “I would feel glad that we had a visit like that.” Life is short.
Monday it looked like he would come home. Tuesday they said he needed to stay. Today the prognosis is not so good. We’re heading back to the hospital soon. In my heart and head I ask God for some help through this, some wisdom, something to hold onto in the rockiness of what might be last days and might not. Then I remember that blessing from Sunday.
The author, unknown to me, was a French writer, Henri-Frédéric Amiel, from the nineteenth century. I’m holding on to those words: Life is short, and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us, so be quick to love and make haste to be kind.