"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. " - Psalm 90:12
You have cancer. You are being sent to Iraq. Your time is short.
You have a moment of time to consider your life, to count your blessings, to enjoy whatever life has to offer.
Every breath is sweeter than the one before. Water tastes cleaner. Food explodes with flavor in your mouth. Each embrace of a child, or a loved one, is like an eternity of comfort.
You are blessed.
All of us will taste death. Not one of us can escape it. We can fill our waking moments with distraction, we can avoid the discussion, we can turn the page on the words, but we cannot change the fact that every heartbeat within our chest is drawing closer to the last one. Time is short.
Those of us who know this are at an advantage. Because the sound of the clock ticking only reminds us to enjoy what we have been given. We are constantly reminded to savor every breath, every smile, every second of sweet laughter, every tear, every good thing that comes our way on the breeze.
I remember attending a memorial service for a young boy, barely out of high school, who had lost his life in Iraq as a Marine.
One by one his friends stood up and shared how blessed they were to know Danny. One by one they talked of cherishing his memory every day that they are alive. Even as we gathered to remember his brief life, we were each reminded to be careful not to take our own life for granted.
Several years ago I worked for a man who had melanoma. Small networks of tumors were steadily growing larger in his brain. Yet, my friend came to work each day with a smile on his face. He encouraged each of us to follow our dreams. He reminded us to enjoy life to its fullest. He refused to lay down and die.
I can remember him coming to work until he needed to walk with a cane, but he kept coming. One day he came in with a walker, but he came anyway. A few weeks later he was in a wheelchair as he greeted us at the door, but he was at work with a smile and a word of encouragement. He was blessed. He knew his days were numbered. He was doing all he could to make his life count. He was determined not to waste a second of breath on anything less than absolute joy and the pursuit of purpose.
Over my head there is an invisible counter on its way to zero. I am oblivious to the number of days that remain. Because of this I am often lulled into wasting entire hours on pointless things. How much of my life have I spent in front of the television? How many hours have I wasted on meaningless things? How many empty moments of my life have I thrown away?
I know my life would be lived in a different way if I could see the face of that clock over my head. If I could catch a glimpse of how much time was left I would gain a much-needed perspective of how my time should be spent on things that count, on endeavors that have eternal value.
My life is a vapor. One day I will breathe my last. One day I will be lowered into the ground, laying quietly inside a dark box. My time here will be over sooner than I expect. How will I spend the remaining hours of time I have left?
Teach me, Lord, to number my days so that I may bring Glory to Your name with whatever I have left to give. Help me to make each day count for the Kingdom. Help me to encourage others. Help me to savor every breath. Help me, dear God, to never take this sweet life you've graced upon me for granted.
"What counts for eternity? Only that good which is done for the love of doing it. Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought. Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward. Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself" - Henry Van Dyke
Live. Love. Give. Share.