One day in class, a young student was asked to provide a definition for the word “salt”. The student came up with this interesting thought: “Salt is what you don’t notice until someone forgets to put it in”. This definition suggests something that has profound implications for life. We take a lot of things for granted unless, for some reason, they are absent. It’s like the story of the military guard who said, “I was busy here doing lots of things and all of a sudden the prisoner was gone.” So maybe we should consider these things.
First, there are some vital things that we never miss until they are gone. Someone has said that if the stars could be seen only one night each year, everyone would see them. As it is, many people never look up to see them. The same is true in other areas.
Few people appreciate clean air and pure water until they have become polluted. Few of us really appreciate our families as we should until we are deprived of them by death or extended separation. The real value of a friend is seldom recognized until the friend is gone.
Secondly, sometimes we become preoccupied with lesser things and lose sight of the more important things. Life has a way of slipping by much more rapidly than we dream. There is a lot of truth in the old saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. We shouldn’t waste life on small things that in the long run do not matter.
Thirdly, we need to remember the importance of the now. Each morning when we wake up, our purse is wonderfully filled with twenty-four hours. It is ours – the most precious of possessions. As the poet has said, “Pass, therefore, not today in vain; for it will never come again”. The time to start living is now. It may be the only living we will have time to do. When Jesus said, “Stay awake”, and St. Paul said “Now is the acceptable time”, I’m sure they were thinking at least in part of these three points.