The Uniqueness of Each Moment

Sara and I are not much on watching the Oscars, but we did see a bit of it go by the other night, and appreciated the quote Jerry Lewis used in accepting his lifetime achievement award.

“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.”

I have heard it before, and I really like it, especially if we read it as a glorious invitation, not a guilt-laced obligation. At it’s heart is a mindset that lives in the present, that celebrates the unique moments God places before us every day with a convergence of people and circumstances, and that invites us to live generously and kindly with all others, even if only for the moment they pass by us.

That is a life of grace. When I checked on the quote this morning I was surprised and blessed to find out that it was from a quote by a Quaker missionary from France to the United States, Stephen Grellet (born Etienne de Grellet du Mabillier) (1773-1855).

How cool is that?

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8 Comments
  1. Bones February 24, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    I recognized a version of that final line as coming from a song by Seals & Croft’s song “We May Never Pass This Way (Again)”, from their album Diamond Girl (1973). Given the theme of the lyrics of the song, it’s clear that James Seals was inspired by these words as he wrote the lyrics, although they turned it into a love song in it’s final line.

  2. Bones February 24, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I recognized a version of that final line as coming from a song by Seals & Croft’s song “We May Never Pass This Way (Again)”, from their album Diamond Girl (1973). Given the theme of the lyrics of the song, it’s clear that James Seals was inspired by these words as he wrote the lyrics, although they turned it into a love song in it’s final line.

  3. David William Edwards February 27, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Reminds of part of Marley’s tirade at Scrooge in “The Christmas Carol” that is rarely used in plays or movie versions of the story:

    “Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!”

  4. David William Edwards February 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Reminds of part of Marley’s tirade at Scrooge in “The Christmas Carol” that is rarely used in plays or movie versions of the story:

    “Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!”

  5. Amy February 27, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    TOTALLY AWESOME!

  6. Amy February 27, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    TOTALLY AWESOME!

  7. Bob Quick March 3, 2009 at 6:52 am

    “To walk in God’s love and give it away.”-TACF
    …And as you say “To live loved.” I believe is
    what Stephen Grellet was saying.
    God’s Love (…and God IS Love)
    is NOT a selfish love.
    Bless you Wayne for your postings.

  8. Bob Quick March 3, 2009 at 9:52 am

    “To walk in God’s love and give it away.”-TACF
    …And as you say “To live loved.” I believe is
    what Stephen Grellet was saying.
    God’s Love (…and God IS Love)
    is NOT a selfish love.
    Bless you Wayne for your postings.

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