Thursday, October 11, 2007


"So, you're welcome," my wife Katy said after a long spiel about how married men live an average of three years longer than those who fly solo.

We had just pulled into the Target parking lot, and somehow we had gotten into a discussion about lifespans. Katy had seen something on Martha Stewart's TV show where they calculated a projected lifespan for audience members, based on parameters like smoker/non-smoker, married/non-married and other categories. By sticking these numbers into a formula, the guy on the show was diagnosing how long audience members had left to live, based on their current lifestyle and barring catastrophic events.

Katy and I just celebrated our birthdays, which are one day apart in successive years, and I think the talk about our ages is how the whole thing got started. We then began discussing the fact that we've only been married four months and that every passing week brings a new sense of achievement.

"Imagine what it will be like when we've been together 20 or 30 years," I said. "I'll be so proud to say it. And even after that, we'll only be a little over 50 years old, if God allows us to live that long."

"I hope he does."

"Me too."

As the thought of death hung in the air, I think both of us had a pang of fear. What if he doesn't allow us that many years? With that thought front and center in our minds, we were blind-sided with a moment of clarity.

"Even if I live to be a hundred, my life is a quarter of the way over," Katy said.

"Yep, life's like that. It's a breath of steam, and then it's gone in a puff of smoke."

May we use that breath well.

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