- Fremont Street in Vegas
If you could capture one moment in your life, what would it be? Would it be a moment of regret? Would it be a moment of great joy? That one moment has most likely changed your life. Whether it was a rather mundane moment or an exhilarating moment, it has probably affected every moment to come. Moments aren’t isolated or disconnected from each other. However small a moment might seem, it can have a huge impact on your life to come.
Now think of all the moments lost in your life? Maybe it was a decision that you knew you should have made but failed to do so. Two days ago my cousin Zach and I were sitting on the porch and he noticed an older lady sitting alone on the front steps of the apartment across the street. I had two options that moment: I could walk over to her and just talk and find out her story, or I could continue sitting on the porch and eat our freshly grilled bratwursts. I decided to continue to sit on the porch. It was a moment lost. Had I gone over and talked to her maybe nothing would have happened. Maybe she wasn’t lonely and was just outside enjoying the soft warm breeze. She could have been taking some much needed alone time from a busy life. But I would guess my visit would have gone over only too well. I think that she would have appreciated a young man coming over and just asking how she was and finding out about her day. I think the small act of showing her my compassion would have maybe even made her day. That small moment might have had a greater affect on her life than what I know.
I chose not to act on that moment and have realized I can never get that moment back. That’s the tough things about moments, once they are gone, they are in the past. You can remember moments, but you can’t ever truly relive or change them. I lost this moment, and it’s one I can never get back.
I want to encourage you to take advantage of as many moments as you can. Although moments are as numerous as the stars in the sky, and not all of them are significant, all of them COULD be defining moments in your life. You rarely know the eternal significance of a moment when it happens, but moments can have lasting impact. After looking at all the moments lost in my life, I know that I will be more aware and prepared to take advantage of moments in the future.
Yesterday wasn’t one of the greatest days in the life of Ryan Youtz. Quite simply, I crashed my car into the car in front of me. No one was hurt but the fender bender left my car undriveable needing towed to the auto body shop and left the truck in front of me with some minor damage. The driver of the truck was nice enough to let me off the hook, he could have claimed injury or wanted his bumper fixed… instead he said “I’m okay and it’s just my work truck– don’t worry about it.” Wow, nice guy.
I’m sure I still have hundreds of dollars of car repair bills in front of me and initially I became frustrated with the thoughts of most of my next paycheck paying off the damages to my car.
As I stood on the street waiting for the tow truck to take my car away, I began to think about some of my neighbors on Park Ave. I’ve noticed many of them don’t own a car as they walk to work or take the bus. And then I began to think about the even bigger picture, ‘I wonder what percentage of the world’s population owns a car.’ Upon returning home I did a little research and found out that less than 7% of the world’s population owns a car… or to put it this way, if the world were a village of a 1,000 people, less than 70 of us would own a car. But get this, over 20% of the world doesn’t have access to clean drinking water. That would mean, that in that village of 1,000, about 200 don’t have access to clean drinking water. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than recognizing that in this symbolic world village, I’m one of the 70 with a car and not one of the 200 without access to clean drinking water.
In church this week we read from the 15th chapter the Gospel of John. Jesus says in verses 12 and 13: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Those two verses have been going through my head since Tuesday night. Jesus commands his followers to love each other. I’ve been asking myself, ‘What does it truly mean for me to lay MY LIFE down for my friends.’ And now, 2 AM, on a Friday morning, I think about my car crash from yesterday. A car crash that has left me recognizing how much I actually have. Jesus also said in Luke 12:48, “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return”.
So, I humbly ask our God to continue to teach me what it means to love those around me. And what it means that I have so much. I’m part of the 7% of the world with a car (even though it is all crashed up in the shop, haha)…. what does this mean? Why do have I so much? What can do to love my friends in Park Ave (and around the world) who seem to have so much less? What is required of me? And again, how do I truly lay down my life for my friends?
Just some thoughts… I should probably go to sleep and let the Lord continue to teach me in the morning. 🙂
The last few days I’ve been roto tilling up a lot of yard at the six-plex on Park Avenue and planting potatoes, onions, beans, beets, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic, as well as a lot of trees and shrubs. I went out to get this roto-tiller at Sol’s pawnshop, and Sol himself sold it to me. I also got to meet his fix-it guy who seems to be able to repair anything from golfcarts and chainsaws to snowblowers and outboard motors, from the looks of the fixit shop. Of course I liked that guy right away. When I got this 6plex back in August, the backyard was pretty overgrown. We are gradually turning it into a forrest and a garden simultaneously, and it feels good. Tilling up the dirt, planting seeds I know will grow to produce, and planting 4 foot trees which will someday be 40 feet tall seems like something we are supposed to do– something we were made to do. Its an act of hope– especially planting fruit trees which will not produce for 7 years. Of course rabbits and neighbors will probably enjoy some of the fruits of our labors, but thats fine– the cool thing is that we are transforming what was once a weedy back yard strewn with beer bottles into a garden. It is a redemption of the land. The friends who live in the building are getting excited too– some are planting their own stuff, and everyone is offering to help keep it up when I’m gone for a couple weeks. The neighbors are also paying attention and taking notice– they see that we care, and that makes them happy– and me happy.