We Are Only Here for a Little While

I write to make sense of things.

We live under the illusion that every single one of us will live to be a hundred and die in our sleep, after having said our goodbyes and making peace with the world. At times, we get glimpses of this fallacy and it feels like a bolt of lightning reanimated our sleeping minds. Twelve years ago, on October 1st, I received one of those wake up calls when the car I was traveling in crashed against another one, launching me against the windshield, losing layers of skin on my forehead and losing my teenage sense of invincibility. After the accident, life became immediate, with words such as "friends" and "family" taking on a deeper meaning, like roots in an ancient tree.

Then a couple of days ago, also on October 1st, a cousin of mine passed away in an accident. He was only 43. He leaves a young daughter behind, a little girl who will no longer be kissed or hugged by her dad. He leaves behind a family who loved him. Tragedies such as this one serve to remind us of how fragile life is. They serve to remind us that we... "do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14)

We are just here for a little while. When you stress out so much about money and bills that you lose sleep, remember that we are only here for a little while. When you work so hard that you neglect time with your family, remember that we are only here for a little while. When you live your life not thinking about eternity, remember that we are only here for a little while. Life is short; eternity is forever.

I don't know what my cousin Javier's standing with Jesus Christ was. I hadn't talked to him in a little while, and especially not about deep things such as faith. He was certainly aware of my beliefs and we did talk about it in the past. Only God knows what happens in the final seconds of one's life on earth, only He is merciful enough to receive someone's repentance and accept him into His kingdom. If death is like a dream, then we all know that a few seconds dreaming seem like a 100 waking hours, certainly enough time to make amends. But I don't know these things with certainty, for this is a mystery. I can only speak of God's grace and mercy.

My cousin Javier was like any of us, he had flaws and virtues. What I remember most about him was his excitement when discussing a topic he was interested in, how he would open his eyes wide, arch his body back and then lean forward and gently touch you in the arm. He had a bigger-than-life personality that demanded notice when entering the room. Many times, when I was driving around cars that would often refuse to run, he would pick me up in his tow truck, saving me stress and money. But what many people didn't know about him was that he was a cinephile. The man loved and knew his film history. Thanks to him, I learned to love film, to see it as an art form. I learned about Fellini, Godard, Rossellini and many others. I always looked forward to new recommendations from him and then telling him my experiences watching those films.

One of his favorite films, which later became one of mine, was 8 1/2 by Federico Fellini. The movie is about a director facing a deadline to finish a movie, while at the same time juggling his personal life. Fact and fiction blur together in this wonderful film, where at the end, the protagonist's movie remains unfinished. Unfinished, that's the best word to describe Javier's life. He was too young and had still too much to accomplish.

We are only here for a little while.

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2 Responses to We Are Only Here for a Little While

  1. This is beautiful, my love. What a wonderful way to remember your cousin by, you express yourself so well through the written word. I love you so much, mi amor.

  2. Thank you, mi amor. Thanks for all your kind words and encouragement. I love you, very, very much.



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