By Oluchi Okafor Ugwunne.
I stared at the old lady as she passed by me, stooping as she walked and trembling slightly. I shook my head in wonder. This old lady obviously didn’t start out as an old lady. No, not at all. Once upon a time, she was young like me. Strong, vibrant, full of energy and zest. Once upon a time, she walked with a spring in her steps, with enough power in her to take on the world. Once upon a time, she had smooth, flawless skin, and probably was the toast of many men. Once upon a time, she was desirable and desired, she had her whole life in front of her. Once upon a time, the sky was her limit.
But now…her face lies in wrinkles. Her shoulders stoop as she walks. Her hands tremble as she tries to lay hold of the door handle of the car. She cannot make it up the stairs without one helping her.
And I ask myself: When did this drastic change happen?
The truth is that, age steals on you. Most people do not notice themselves growing older with each day that passes. But the truth is this: We will not be young forever, and age has a way of creeping up on you while you are not looking.
It happens when you are reading that book in the library. While you are traveling from Point A to Point B. When you are checking your wall on Facebook. Yes, even after reading this post, you will be five minutes older than when you first started reading it. Time passes without most people noticing it.But it does not leave us unchanged.
For many youths, we somehow think that we will be young forever. That somehow, old age is a somewhere very faraway, a place we are not going to get to very soon. And so we waste our moments, procrastinate our dreams, and assure ourselves that we have all the time in the world.
But time passes…and suddenly we find that we are someone’s mummy. We find responsibilities at work overwhelming.
Days turn into weeks, and into months. All of a sudden, the person in the mirror doesn’t look like we used to know them before. We’ve added a lot more weight, we look more like a real adult and….hey, is that a gray hair you just spotted on your once dark shiny hair?
Time passes by quickly when you’re not looking, and if you don’t take care to use it well, you find that life wastes. The big years of one’s life are made up of simple things called minutes, and you find that if you use your minutes well, you would have used your life well.
Don’t spend time on things that do not matter; otherwise your life will not matter. No wonder Moses prays, ‘Lord teach us to number my days, that I may apply my heart to wisdom.’ NLT puts it thus, ‘Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.’
David also prays in Psalm 39:4-5, “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
What matters is not that we are going to get old- that is an inevitable fact of life. What is important is that we utilize our God-given time wisely in doing good now that we are young and strong, so that when old age (‘the evil days’ as the Bible puts it) gets to us, we will not live our lives in regret for the things we left undone that we should have done.
The Bible enjoins us to serve the Lord in the days of our youth. I daresay those days are NOW. There’s no better time than now to begin serving God diligently, zealously, with all our hearts and all of our strength. Let’s seek to make each moment count.
Remember, old age is coming…Don’t be unprepared!
Oluchi Okafor Ugwunne studied Medicine in the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She is the author of Practical Advice for Girls and A Reason to Hope. Her life’s passion is helping young people discover and fulfill their God given destiny. She is married to her lovely friend and they are blessed with children.