Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Urgency of Now

“We are not faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood-it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘too late.’”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Time is a funny thing.  I can feel like it's crawling by like it did while we were in the adoption process or during my engagement. Other days it races by and there aren't enough minutes in the day.  When I think about my life I can often feel like I have forever ahead of me while other days I feel confronted with the reality that life is oh, so short....that the clock is ticking faster and faster. 

I think many of us spend much of our time planning for and looking to the future...a job change, a vacation, a change of lifestyle, retirement etc.  We tell ourselves that someday our lives will be different.  Someday we'll do that thing that seems so out of reach right now.  Someday, we'll be in a better place to spend our time and money in more meaningful ways.  You know, once we're out of debt and the kids are out of school and we're out from under work and extracurricular obligations and...and...and. 

Too many people's "somedays" never come.  There really IS such a thing as being too late.  As King says "Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘too late.’”  We can get to the end of our lives and regret all the ways we meant to help.  Time slipped the busyness of daily life we just...well, we were too busy.  We were too self consumed to really bother with others who didn't fit our schedules, our comfort zones, our molds.  Really, we were going to do something...

The trafficked 9 year old child who was raped for the 20th time today screams that NOW is what counts.  The family running for their lives from ethnic cleansing in their country knows tomorrow could be too late.  The mother who has AIDS and is nursing her little baby with diseased milk rather than allowing it to starve knows the urgency of today. The orphan who will age out of the orphanage in a week with no hope of ever having a family knows that time is short. The HIV+ patients who have free medication but can't afford the basic food that's required to be eaten with their medication know the urgency of today.  The teenager in Russia with her head being held to a log with an axe forcing her to service man after man knows the urgency of now.

We can tend to think of getting to the grocery store, making it to practice on time, climbing the corporate ladder or paying our bills on time as urgent.  Here is what I honestly believe - we wouldn't know urgent if it slapped us in the face.  It would do us worlds of good to walk a mile in someone else's shoes and have our perception of urgent re-shaped.    

I do not want to get to the end of my life (which could be an hour from now for all I know) having ignored the people who have lived every moment in a state of emergency.  I do not want to stand before my God and look Him in the eye and tell Him that I really meant to do something... that my heart went out to those people.  For whoever it is that I am meant to help during my time on this earth, I do not want to be too late.  

There IS an urgency of now.  Now is ALL any of us have.  We are not guaranteed our next breath.  Now is a gift that we have been given that was never meant to be squandered.  What are we doing with it?    


  1. so much truth to this post and so beautifully written.

  2. Amazing Post!!! Your eloquence drives this truth deep into the heart. Bless you and keep writing! :)

  3. Amy, just went I thought I didn't have anymore tears left,,,,,they are flowing. Sweet girl thank you for this post. This most is what I have been living for the last 12 days. God has shown me how my security stops me and I HATE IT!! We must act now.