Tuesday, September 30, 2008

746

I don't know what possessed me to do math in the shower yesterday morning. I decided to figure out how many days I have been a parent; i.e. how many days Iain has been on this earth. The answer? 746. This really does have a point. Stick with me.

It's not like it was a big day: 1000 or 500 or even 750. But I found myself thinking about that number all day, and thinking that we should celebrate day 746. Why? Because it was day 746, of course. That day will never come again. Let's live it fully, enjoy it, pay attention to it for goodness' sake. It's so easy to lose the days in the busyness or even the sameness of life. But when day 746 is gone, it's gone for good. Let's SEE it while it's here!

So, what to do to celebrate an importantly ordinary day? Go to the park, of course.

Swing high:



Climb up the slide:


Slide down on your tummy:



Meet in the middle in a delicious brother collision:


Wait for your brother to slide again, and giggle when he does:



Climb a rock wall:



Play at the general store:


In his book Breakfast Epiphanies, David Anderson makes the wise point that you can't really live each day like it was your last, contrary to the pithy quotes we've all heard. It's impractical: if it was your last day on earth, would you do the dishes? Take out the trash? Would you continue to save money, or would you write one big fat check to your favorite ministry or charity? Would you spend time checking your email or would you buy a ticket for the other side of the world? You get my point; it's impossible to live a responsible, or even sustainable life if you are truly living each day like you would if you knew it was your last. It would also be an exhausting way to live: cram it all in, get it all done, don't stop until you literally drop. Can't keep it up, friends.

We must remember that life is often found in the details, in the ordinary. When it is your last day, don't you want to have spent it doing what you were supposed to be doing, and what you had been doing faithfully every day? Isn't that a more meaningful way to spend your last day than frantically doing all the good you can in 24 hours? I think it is more, better, if it's a long-term, steady faithfulness than if it's a desperate chase to the end.

Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I don't think David meant that we should literally count the days, as I did yesterday. But every once in a while, maybe it's a good idea. It helps keep life in perspective. It makes me remember that each day is a gift. It reminds me to be faithful in the day-to-day.

So with that, I'll add to my list of 1000 gifts:

17. day 746 and the lessons it brought.