“11 I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
12 Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come:
As fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so men are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
My grandpa is a great man! He has raised six kids and has too many grandkids and great-grandkids to keep track of. He was a farm boy scouted by pro baseball teams. He was a horseman. He was an insurance salesman. He taught me how to golf. He made me think that if I ever decided to smoke it would be a pipe like him (with Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco only, thank you very much). He doesn’t have a theology degree but knows more about the Bible than I do. He takes care of his family and presides over it well.
But like Solomon discovered and recorded in Ecclesiastes, time and chance affect us all, whether we’ve lived a good life, a hard life, a long one, or a short one. The great equalizer, cancer, has caught up with my grandpa. It began as pancreatic cancer, but despite his pancreas being removed it has metastasized and is spreading to his liver and beyond. Time and chance…
In the last few years my grandpa and I have grown apart – not through any intention on either of our parts. It just gradually happened. Time and chance…
I hope to rectify that. We can’t go golfing, but we can still sit and talk. It almost feels awkward at this point. As though I’m ashamed for what I’ve missed by letting us grow apart. I understand lots of kids grow up and just get involved in their own lives. However, I sure didn’t think I could be that selfish. Shame is a good word. And yet if you’re feeling shame don’t let it control you or dissuade you from doing what you know is right. Time and chance may take their toll too soon, and then you’ll have to live with the compounded shame of never doing anything about your shame in the first place.
Life really is too short. Time and chance don’t help the odds. So get out there and do some living!