A friend of his – Vy – sent him a web page in which there was a clock counting down the time of one’s life. He just needed to fill out some information and it would count down the time he had left to live.
A game? Maybe!
But, that game has changed his living attitude when he saw in that clock a simple thing: his time was being reduced. One second two seconds three seconds…ten seconds…fifty seconds…one minute five minutes ten minutes…one hour two hours…were quickly gone. More than ten thousand seconds disappeared like…no time. Many people in this world wanted to live for only a few minutes just to say a last ‘thank you’, a last ‘sorry’ or to give a last smile, but they didn’t have that treasure. He was startled, even panic.
Obviously he had lived a lot of time of his life and his time left was passing very quickly. The truth is clear: The older one gets, the faster time flies. “I have to live differently now!” he said to himself. From then on, he decided to live fully his time. Living fully one’s time has the following benefit: one becomes more peaceful and beautiful.
The way he lives each day now is radically changed.
Waking up, he thanks God for having granted him a good night and for offering him a new day so he can continue to love and to be loved.
He brushes his teeth that get weaker each day and give him sore and pain at times. He enjoys the refreshing flavor of the tooth paste, praying for those who no longer have anything to brush.
Putting on the yellow T-shirt, he prayerfully thanks his classmate for her generosity of this gift that she bought when the clothes were on sale. He hopes she will have a good day.
Construction work is his job, one of the most tiring jobs. Some time ago, he would compare him with others and then suffer low self-esteem. Today, each time he carries bricks or masonry mortar, he thanks God for having a job to do. His heavy work is no longer a burden but becomes an opportunity for him to do some physical exercise. Health and money go together! Before, he only saw ugly bricks and stones. Today, he is proud to say to his friends that he is helping build homes. He keeps in prayer those who are jobless, wanting to do something but finding no work.
Recently, one of his friends offered him a plane ticket to go to the capital for a wedding. The first time he flew, interesting feelings he had! While passing through the clouds with millions of shapes and forms, he thanked God for giving him a great opportunity to be up high. He remembered those who did not have good means of transportation; for instant, Mrs Sau in his town only traveled by foot and never reached to the big city.
Then came the economy crisis. He was laid off. His family has to save every penny. He goes to different places to look for a job. Many months have passed but he still remains jobless. But he does not get upset or discouraged since he tells himself that this would be a good chance to rest and take care of the aspects of life that he could not have time to pay attention to when he was with work.
When it is cold, his arthritis makes him suffer quite a bit. His joins hurt badly. Instead of complaining and rebelling as before, now he not only accepts willingly his human fragile limitations but also thanks God for this experience that helps him grow in his sensitivity to the suffering brothers and sisters.
The people in this big building have not been very conscious of keeping the common place clean. When using the restroom, often enough he sees papers dropped outside the trash bin, he bends down to pick them up and puts them into the bin, feeling glad that he has overcome the temptation of being indifferent.
Yesterday, while he was on the motorbike, some careless driver almost hit his vehicle. That person did not apologize but raised his voice in cursing. If this had happened before his ‘attitude conversion’, he would have hit that person on the face. But he has decided to be different. So he only looked at the person calmly without letting those words of vanity invade his spirit, and continued his way. He prayed for that person to keep calm so as not to cause any accident.
On the way home, sometimes he runs into beggars. If he has something to offer them, he would do so in thanking them because for him they are giving him an opportunity to enlarge his heart. If he does not have anything material to share, he gives them a friendly smile and says ‘sorry’. Then he prays for their well-being.
On weekends, he spends time on taking care of his spiritual life. When seeing empty seats in the church, he prays for those who cannot come to Mass that things go well for them. He also prays for those who do not want to go to church that they may find the joyful meanings of the Eucharistic celebration. For those who lack enthusiasm, he prays that they always trust in the unchanging and unconditional love of God. He thanks God for being beside him always to keep warmth for his heart. He treasures the silent moments he sits still in prayer. Thanks to them, he can live good values such as compassion, patience, sympathy, forgiveness, tolerance, generosity, sacrifice, optimism, courage, prudence… and so gains peace and joy.
After Mass, he has a habit to sit for a while in the park nearby to read. He quietly thanks the author of the book for the insights. Watching passers-by, he prays that they always find peace and happiness in life.
Looking from outside in with normal eyes, his life appears normal like everyone else’s. Contemplating from inside out through his eyes, heaven and earth are filled with grace and every situation is an opportunity to live life to the full.
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.