The Ache of Mortality

Elisha Galotti

Elisha Galotti | 09.05.13
Twitter: @ElishaGalotti


He's a boy who's usually too busy for cuddles. So when he stands in front of me, tired from swimming, wrapped in his beach towel and asks, "Can I sit with you?" I quickly pull him close before he changes his mind. We sit quietly, he and I, watching the waves swell and then break in soothing rhythm. The cool, refreshing wind travels from across the water and, before long, my son relaxes into the softness of sleep.

Careful not to wake him, I softly trace the contours of his face with my hand, noticing how much this little guy has changed. A wave of sadness swells. I hold him close, wishing there was some way to pause time, to hold on to this moment.

No matter how tightly we hold on, the moments pass as quickly as they arrive.

Life's rhythm is predictable, and no matter how tightly we cling to any moment, time will swell and then break. The waves rise, then fall; the sun rises, then sets; we are born, we live, then we die.

We're expectant with the swelling promise of summer. But even as we enjoy a long awaited season, it is already almost over. "Hello, hello. Goodbye, goodbye. That's all there is. And the leaves that are green turn to brown" (Simon and Garfunkle). No matter how tightly we hold on, the moments pass as quickly as they arrive.

And we feel it, don't we? We ache with the briefness, the brevity of life.

In the sweet seasons, the ache is bittersweet; time is moving along, and we'll never return to the goodness that is right now. In the dark or painful seasons, the seasons of waiting, the awareness that life is quickly passing is all the more acute because lingering within is that question: When, Lord? How long, Lord?

Have we considered that the One who causes each wave to rise and fall and each day to come and go is the same One who designed us to have eternity stamped in our hearts? When we feel the sadness of our quickly passing life, sometimes our instinct is to dismiss these feelings of sorrow into a tidy, cute category that we call sentimentality. But what if, far from it being merely sentimental, these feelings are actually our Creator whispering to us, teaching us about Himself, teaching us about the brevity of our lives.

About this very thing, Moses writes,

"The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away." (Ps. 90:10)

When we feel that oh-so-familiar ache, we shouldn't casually shrug it off into a category of sentimentality. It is God Himself who has placed eternity in the human heart. Through His Word, lovingly cautions us to consider the brevity of our lives. These feelings, these pangs, these aches—they're from Him!

At the end of his song about the quickly passing nature of life, Moses concludes with these words,

"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands; yes, establish the work of our hands!"

What is your response? When you feel the ache of mortality, do you simply resolve to work harder to make your life count? Or do you look to Christ, the eternal hope, and pray these words along with Moses: "Lord, take my life—my quickly passing life—and use me. Yes, Lord, use me!"

Topics: With Your Kids


  1. I pray daily to be His vessel - so aware time goes too fast, too soon - and there are too many who do not know Him. Living for and "in" Him. Drinking in life.
    posted by deby
    on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm
  2. That's really beautiful,I appreciate ur post.
    posted by Segopotso
    on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm
  3. Dear God, how timely are your messages.

    Today, were he still living on Earth, my precious brother would have been 61 years old. I pray that I will live my life fully, expectantly, joyfully, contentedly, in harmony with others, and completely committed to be all that He would have me to do and to be.

    I miss my dear brother and think of him still almost every day. He lived fully and completely and all of the above and was peaceful and accepting at his death. May it be so with me also.

    Thank you, Elisha, for this posting on such a day of need.
    posted by ann
    on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm
  4. Deby, yes! Time passes. Our lives pass. Yet what glorious hope that, with eyes of faith, we look to the One who is forever. Our God is so different than us, isn’t He? Our lives are marked by beginnings and endings; our God is the One who was and is and is to come.

    Segopotso, thank you!

    Ann, Thank you for sharing your heart, and I’m sorry that your heart is hurting as you miss your brother. What joy, when we have brothers and sisters who we love. What sorrow, when they’re taken from us. What you write is so true: death, the ultimate ending, is one of the profound reminders to live! What grace, too, that God has revealed to each one of us how to live in a way that is, as you write, “completely committed to be all that He would have me to do and to be.” Even while there are so many details of that, that might be complex, we know God’s will for each one of His daughters—that we would live for Christ, that we would glorify God, and that we would find our deepest joy in Him! On this day, what would have been your brother’s birthday, as you reflect upon his life, I will pray that God will remind you anew that He—the One who has conquered death—is your living hope.
    posted by Elisha Galotti
    on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 9:24 pm
  5. This post is absolutely beautiful. Thank you.
    posted by Susan
    on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm
  6. Elisha, thanks you for your insightful words and always so full of hope. For one so young, you are wise and a leader among women. God's blessing on you and your family!
    posted by debbie
    on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm
  7. Excellent post to make you think about lifes treasured moments.
    posted by Marielaina Perrone DDS
    on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm
  8. This post is absolutely beautiful. Thank you.
    posted by Susan
    on Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 6:00 am
  9. I had a dear brother who passed away oh to soon at age 50, after battling a heart condition for almost 10 years. He lived life fully, touching the hearts of so many people. As I founded out at his home going to be with the Lord. I didn't see him as offen I as I liked, because we lived in different states. But whenever we talked he was always at peace with his condition, I, on the other hand was worried. I miss our talks, which started to be few. Now I have such deep longings to see him and talk. It's only been about a year and a half since his passing. I pray that as I live my life I will be used by God to make a difference, to show someone the way. Use me Lord, my storage is empty and I am available to you.
    posted by Gloria
    on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at 6:03 am

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