Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow. – Psalm 144.4
I recently listened to a podcast about life in a small town. It was a very discouraging podcast about broken people living in a broken. It was far from Christian – but it really pointed out the vanity of life.
The key character was a brilliant clockmaker. He also loved sundials. I had never heard of this before, but he said that sundials often had Latin mottoes about the brevity of life and used the idea of passing shadows to describe it. He mentioned a couple of them and I found a few online.
Meam vide umbram, tuam videbis vitam. (Look at my shadow and you will see your life.)
Umbra sicut hominis vita. (A person's life is like a shadow.)
Vita fugit, sicut umbra (Life passes like the shadow.)
Vita similis umbræ. (Life resembles a shadow.)
Indeed, the image of a sundial, where day by day the shadow creeps across its face and then disappears is a great picture of our lives. Once that day has passed it is gone forever. The shadows of days fly by, then weeks, then months, then years.
In fact, our lives are like that shadow. As quickly as they went the sundial face they pass away. I am stunned by how fast the sun flits across the sky. In July I will finish 62 years on this earth, but those years sometimes seem like days.
What have I done with those 62 years? I can’t do anything about that, but I can do something the time I have left. I can, by the grace of God, careful redeem the time.
Only one life, ‘twill soon be passed.