“Life is so much more than a moment in time"
Award of Outstanding Merit - $1,000
Dr. Michael Helms is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jefferson, GA. He is a previous Amy Writing Award winner and a finalist in the 2004 Pastor Awards from The Amy Foundation. His published books include Finding Our Way—An Introspective Journey Through the Labyrinth of Life, Winepress Publishing Group, 2006; Hoping Liberia: Stories of Civil War from Africa's First Republic, Smith and Helwys, 2009; Finding Our Way with the Magi; A Daily Guide Through the Seasons of Advent, Faithlab 2011; and Finding Our Way Through the Wilderness: A Journey for Lent or Other Days of Spiritual Reflection and Prayer, co-authored with Erica Cooper, Faithlab, 2011. Michael blogs at johnmichaelhelms.com.
Soon the attention of the world will be on London, England, as the best athletes from over 200 countries will be competing for medals and a chance to be crowned the best athletes in the world in their respective sport as they hear their country’s national anthem played.
My son Ryan is member of the USA National Diving Team. He will compete June 20 in Seattle, Washington, for a spot on the Olympic Diving Team. His chances for making the team are poor, but his journey to the Olympic Trials is one we are all proud of. He has succeeded in having a balanced career, placing a proper emphasis on his spiritual, academic, and athletic pursuits while at the University of Tennessee. While he has always dreamed of the Olympics, he hasn’t lived for a single moment in time, but has focused on the breadth of life. Some might say that’s the difference between those who make Olympic teams and those who don’t, but if we only live for a moment in time, is that really wise, regardless of the level of our achievement?
The Emmy award winning song, “One Moment in Time,” was written by Albert Hammond and John Bettis for the 1988 Summer Olympics and Paralympics held in Seoul, South Korea. It was sung by Whitney Houston at the opening ceremony.
Hearing that song against the backdrop of the Olympic games gives it more meaning. It is at the Olympic games that many athletes hope to find their destiny and have that one moment that could change their lives forever.
In this song Houston sang: “I want one moment in time/ When I'm more than I thought I could be/ When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away/ And the answers are all up to me/ Give me one moment in time/ When I'm racing with destiny/ Then in that one moment of time/ I will feel/ I will feel eternity.
Many athletes, many actors, many famous and just ordinary people who have enjoyed their moment in time disagree with those lyrics. A moment in time may have changed their lives, but it didn’t sustain them. A moment never sustains people for a lifetime. It eventually dries up. Even so, people that have had such a moment often reach back for it like a thirsty man crossing a desert reaches for his canteen more than once, only to find it dry each time.
Solomon, to whom the book of Ecclesiastes is attributed, wrote that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (3:1 NIV).
Unfortunately, too many people don’t agree with him. Their lives get stuck in a single moment. They spend much of their time trying to find their way back to that one moment in time. Not being able to find it, many replace that feeling with alcohol and drugs to mask the emptiness. The drugs become their new moment, but of course, when they wear off, they have to reach for more and the downward spiral has begun.
Whitney sings, “You're a winner for a lifetime/ If you seize that one moment in time/ Make it shine.”
The truth is, no one can live off a moment. It cannot sustain one for a lifetime. For many, the feeling is like a high that is chased for years, never to be found again. If it is found, it only feeds the addiction. Many live off the memory of the moment like a bear lives off its fat during hibernation. Eventually, that has to stop or there will be serious problems.
Houston, the most-awarded female act of all time, died in February, the night before the Grammy Awards. That’s the stage where the “gold” is handed out in the recording industry. Perhaps Houston, ravaged by a long history of drug use, was haunted with the thought that she would never have another moment in time like she had earlier in life when her music was all the rave. Was she living in the past? Was she unable to understand that life is more than just a moment in time?
Bill Courtney seems to understand this. He’s the volunteer football coach that coached the undermanned and underfunded Manassas Tigers of north Memphis to an undefeated season in 2011, a team that previously had never made it to the playoffs.
A documentary was made about the team’s fairytale season. It was nominated and won an Oscar this year for best film documentary. However, before the award was handed out and once the film cast a spotlight on the team and the community, the coach cautioned the team not to let their 15 minutes of fame become their defining moment in life.
"If this is the best thing that ever happens to your life," he told them, "you've got a deficiency in your soul you need to think about." He was telling them, “Life is more than just a moment. Don’t spend your life in this one.”
Life is a journey, a long journey. While moments are important, and while a single moment can change a life, if we try to live off them, we’ve allowed life to stop. We’ve said, “Life will never get better. We’ve lived out the greatest and most meaningful parts of our existence. It’s all downhill from here. There will never be another moment in time.” How depressing! Or if we say, “Life will never get better. This moment has ruined my life. There will never be another good moment for me,” how depressing!
“There is a time (moment) for everything under heaven,” wrote Solomon. There can be a moment in every year. There can be a moment in every month. There can be a moment in every week. There can be a moment in every day when we look to the Lord to confirm that He is guiding us and living out His purpose in our lives. When these moments happen, it’s like God winking at us and reminding us that He is in our midst, continuing to work out His purpose in our lives. He can even do this in the midst of suffering and tragic situations.
There is no drug that can touch the feeling that God is with us every moment and seeks to use many, many, moments, not just one, to define our purpose and our lives.
Printed in The Paper, June 14, 2012 (Hoschton, GA)
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