Be today who you want to be forever

There are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only 70 years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live forever.

~ C. S. Lewis


And as believers, we are going to live forever; we’ve been promised.

So it does matter who we are today.

I attended Alyse and Kyle’s wedding this summer. The bride and groom were obviously giddy to be marrying, and rightly so. Nothing but smiles and laughs.

But we older adults intermingle our joy with a few tears, and not just happy ones.

We foresee a little further down the road—times the happy couple will get so angry at each other that they’ll say such rude things unimaginable on this wedding day; times when they’ll worry themselves crazy over a sick child in the middle of the night; times when they’ll be so torn about whether to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas at his family or hers.

Little things and big things. We know. We’ve been there.

And we foresee times of immense joy, too, those special joys that only married partners can give to each other.

We take the long view. We’ve lived it and we know it’s ahead for them, too.

So the vows the loving couple made to each other that Saturday need to be undergirded with determination and commitment and selflessness; they have much to go through ahead.

Those character traits are things “worth bothering about,” per Lewis, not only to start a relationship, and to enjoy your partner—but to be an enjoyable partner. Through the first year of marriage, into the next 55, and individually, those very qualities will shape who we are into eternity.

Patience, kindness, trust, forgiveness. Young or old, don’t we all need to continue nurturing these in ourselves? Not only for our spouses, but because we have a very, very long time ahead to live with us.

Let’s make it as pleasant an experience as possible.

* * *

Can you imagine living with yourself forever? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

16 thoughts on “Be today who you want to be forever

  1. Bill (cycleguy)

    I was that dreamy eyed young man over 42 years ago. I now know better. I wish I could have foreseen the heartache my youngest would go through over the past couple of years as the man she loves moved in and out of their lives twice. But God has been gracious and hopefully he is there to stay (and will return to the Lord).

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    It’s an interesting question, and I was surprised to think that now I probably COULD live with myself forever. There are issues, but they are diminishing, a ripples die down in a pond. I like myself; I don’t feel either “as a dirty rag” or broken. The dawn is coming.

    I don’t think that eternity spent with God is static, though; I do believe that we continue to grow.

  3. Michele Morin

    Floored by the CS Lewis quote. It reminds me of a prayer that I frequently return to :
    Help me to live my live today as I will wish that I had lived it when it is time for it to end.
    Always enjoy reading your thoughts!

  4. Beth

    You are right where I have been these days, Lisa … pondering the “long view” as you stated it, regarding our newly married adult children. I’ll be honest, it stirs some fears for me. But I know the Lord who helped me and my hubby through the turbulence of marriage and “maturity” will help them too. Thanks for this reminder that we all need–whether newly married or long married–to be gracious and kind to our mates. Point taken, my friend!

  5. ~ linda

    I, too, was that dreamy-eyed girl back in 1971. I could not have imagined just what I was walking into. That googley-eyed girl shed tear upon tear for ten years. Then she met K 13 years later and wen into a second marriage with more mature googley-eyes. I understand the beauty of patience, kindness, forgiveness and, most of all, having Christ in our midst.

  6. Joanne Viola

    I was dreamy eyed as well & could not have imagined how differently life would turn out. But looking back … I would do it all over again as it has all been worth it! It is so funny how weddings can cause us to look back & look ahead – often all at the same time 🙂

  7. Laura

    No marriage in sight for me yet, but I am still trying to envision the long view..trying to become the person I want to be now so it might not be so difficult once I’m in a marriage (but I know it will still be difficult! 🙂 ). I really love your realistic words here. Thanks, Lisa.

  8. bluecottonmemory

    32 years this year – and, oh, the places my heart has been and grown and become. Holding on to my husband and God have made all the difference!!! I’m hoping that in the “forever,” that God will smooth out the places within me that need smoothing – so that won’t be so sharp, or soft or rough – but just how He designed!

  9. Kristi

    “Patience, kindness, trust, forgiveness. Young or old, don’t we all need to continue nurturing these in ourselves?” Yes, indeed. Often, I need a reminder, Lisa. Thank God for His patience. 🙂 Visiting from #tellHisstory

  10. Angela Howard

    I’ve never read that quote by C.S. Lewis! Love it! My husband and I are celebrating our 20th Anniversary this month and I love the idea of taking the long view. It helps us remember the importance of savoring the moments and also realizing that Jesus is preparing us for eternity. He does this so well through relationships! Thank you for writing!

  11. floyd

    Excellent post, quote, and reminder of the type of folks God’s called us to be in order to honor Him, our loved ones, and ourselves. The trade of innocence to honesty does leave us remembering the fallen world in which we are aliens… Got me thinking… Why do you always do that? !

  12. Jean Wise

    Lots to ponder here, Lisa. I love that quote – CS Lewis always gets me thinking. I think we allow the little daily grind put blinders on us. Stress does that too. We become so narrow focused we forget the long view. I like how you related this quote to marriage. really any relationship or anything of that high value -0 takes time and like you said seeing things in the long view. Good thinking and wonderful exploration of a great quote.

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