While out walking one morning late last week, I first came upon a flock of buzzards busily consuming the earthly remains of a dead skunk. It was obvious that the hapless creature had met his demise under the wheel of some automobile the night before. By the time I arrived on the scene, little was left of this poor animal; and I mused on his unfortunate fate as I walked along.
Barely a half of a mile later on in my journey, I came upon the remains of an opossum who had clearly suffered a similar fate the previous evening. Its poor carcass had been virtually turned inside out; although I do not know if this had been caused by the force with which it had been hit or by some scavenging animal in the meantime. I puzzled over this too as I kept on walking.
Shortly thereafter, I crested the small ridge where I had repeatedly seen a groundhog as of late. His habit was to occupy the low point in the road, were he easily passed back and forth using a small culvert underneath the road designed for the runoff of rain water into a nearby creek.
As I topped the little hill, I was saddened to see that, for whatever reason, the poor little fellow had apparently chosen to attempt an aboveground crossing of the road just as some other automobile had passed by in the wee hours of the early morning. While he was clearly dead, he had not been that way for long.
Perhaps it was because I had encountered this last animal so often before, and therefore felt as if I had begun to develop some sort of rapport with him, that his death struck me more significantly than had the death of either of the previous two animals. I was truly sad.
I walked on down to the lake before setting out on my return trip home. In the thirty or so minutes of time this took me, the vultures managed to find the downed groundhog. By the time I got back to the spot, they had not only been disemboweled him, but had also literally dismembered him as well. Nor were they happy as they retreated to the trees above, impatiently awaiting my passing before they could resume their repast.
Now, at this point, reading all of this may well have left you disturbed or even disgusted. But I have only related what I encountered that morning, along with the impact it all had on me at the time. Of course, if you have stayed with me this long, then I hope you will read a little further and reflect on what I eventually concluded from the morning’s events.
While I like to hunt and fish, I am no sadist. Animals are sentient creatures that live out their lives, and in so doing, fulfill the purpose for which God created them. It is always somewhat sad, therefore, to see one of them die prematurely in an accidental encounter with an automobile. What is more, this is only magnified when it happens three times in one night, especially when that all happens on the same short stretch of road.
Of course, whether you are troubled by any of this or not, it does, at the very least, speak to how fleeting life is. Twelve hours before my morning walk, three of God’s creatures walked this earth. By twelve hours after my morning walk, each no longer did. If that is not a sobering reminder of the brevity of life, then I do not know what is.
None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. For this reason, it behooves each of us to make the utmost of each and every day!
Perhaps this is akin to what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he told the Ephesians (in chapter 5, verses 15- 16 of his New Testament Epistle addressed to them) to… “pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
It bears repeating here how the Amplified Version translates these verses:
“Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.”
How right Paul was! What is more, how right we will each be to follow his admonition! Given that the world is full of evil, and that we do not know what tomorrow holds, it behooves each of us to recognize this and to take advantage of every opportunity, living life to the full as we exult in each single moment of God-given life!
One day, my time on earth will come to an end. Yours will too. Until then, make we each live life to the full!