The Mosquitofish lives two maybe three years. Worker bees and brine shrimp, though they make the most of every minute get just one.
Male bees are larger than the female workers. They lead a life of leisure, doing no work while being fed by the workers. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen, thereby transferring the genetic traits of their mother. They die upon mating, or are expelled from the hive as winter approaches. Yikes.
Once the dragonfly leaves its larvae it has only four short months of impossible flight.
The Dragonfly. Contrary to popular belief, not a dragon at all. They have 6 legs but walk poorly, although they are one of the fastest insects in the world. And the deadliest! (No, not really. Another misconception.)
The winged male ants, called drones, despite emerging from the pupae at the same time as the females, after taking flight, and some rather aerobatic procreation get three, four weeks tops. And the microscopic Gastrotrichs, well they get a long holiday weekend.
Mr. Gastrotrich (Greek for stomach), is nicknamed "hairy back".
Mr. and Mrs. Mayfly, they have only thirty minutes to meet, mate and molt twice. The order barely matters as long as the eggs get laid. They are called June bugs or salmon flies or sometimes shad flies, but no need for introductions, by the time you read the list of their 2500 varieties half their life will be over.
The ubiquitous Mayfly. Here today, gone...today.
Life is a vapor. A flower that fades. Withering grass. The frailty of humanity summed up in scripture by the brother of Jesus, King David, Isaiah the prophet, respectively. Oh dear. What then? At most, a century and some change?
A 94 year old man and his infant son.
You spend the first and last days of your life in diapers and drool, completely dependent on the mercy of others. You stumble toward your best years in ignorance and inexperience and away from them in a fog of forgetfulness. And even then, those best days are fraught with trouble, dampened by regret.
How to, and how not to, use a Japanese style toilet. Or bobsled?
We spend 1/4 of our life asleep. 1/8 at work or school. A year on the toilet and up to a decade watching TV, on the internet, and playing video games. What does that leave? A few short years to really make a difference, really touch the lives of others and leave an eternal legacy.
And while so many in the first world waste those precious years, there are 27 million people enslaved today, millions of whom are children, all having their lives cut short through exploitation and cruelty. There are 100's of millions of poor in the world having their lives marginalized by a lack of access to even the most basic necessities: clean water, food, and shelter.
It seems to me there is a choice in front of us. We can choose to waste our days, to ignore the suffering around us, to remain numbed by luxury, or we can cry out for justice, and ask our leaders to follow suit. We can reduce our consumption, commit to simple living, and make our surplus available to those with nothing.
We can, as scripture says, redeem the time while there is time. It is our reasonable act of worship, it is the nature of God that longs to be revealed through us- the love that saved us, loving through us the least of these.
Life is so short, love like there is no tomorrow, live like today is your last day.