Our Days are Numbered

I sat down at the end of my son’s bed last night to wish him goodnight. As I leaned down to kiss his forehead he ducked down underneath the covers and began rummaging around in the middle of his bed. At first, I thought he was playing a game but quickly came to understand that he was searching for something. I wasn’t sure exactly what he was looking for until he emerged with his favorite stuffed animal in hand and a big smile on his face. He’s had that stuffed monkey since the day he was born. As I watched him draw his tattered friend close to his cheek, a thought popped into my head. I turned to the Google assistant across the room and asked, “how many days have passed since February 8, 2011?”. The answer came quickly, “4,096 days.” Four thousand is an enormous number; it was almost hard to grasp in the moment. He’s had that stuffed animal for over 4,000 days…what a bond they must have formed!

Of course, being the curious type (my son, but also the stuffie) he wanted to know the same information about me. So, he too turned to the Assistant and asked, “how many days since July 16, 1975?” The answer came back quickly again, but this time with more punch, “17,087 days.” I’ve been on this earth for over 17,000 days. “Wow, daddy, that’s a lot.” Wow, daddy indeed.

After a moment of reflection, I gathered myself, leaned down and kissed him goodnight, then made my way into my room to complete my evening ritual.

Every night I kneel beside my bed to pray. And each time I do it I can feel the speed with which my life is moving by. Each bedtime prayer seems to come more and more quickly. Usually, that time is the first time all day that I get to take a deep breath and speak to God, and it almost always feels like I was just there in that moment mere minutes ago. It’s a precious time filled with gratitude and supplication, a quiet time to appreciate how blessed I truly am. But sometimes it can also be tinged with sadness and maybe even a bit of regret. Whatever I am feeling in those moments, they seem to come quicker and quicker each day.

It’s no great statement to say that at the end of these days we all suffer the same fate. The key to life is how we travel to that place and, ultimately, meet that fate. The only currency we have to spend along that journey are the days we’re given; spend them wisely.

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