Friday, November 14, 2014

Numbering the Days

I’m counting the days now. Next month we return to the US and spend Christmas with our kids. You better believe I’m counting the days. Twenty-four to go. So much of life seems to be counting days, anticipating things to come. But is my heart wise enough to treasure those days as they get ticked off on the calendar? 

What I wouldn’t give for a bonafide heart of wisdom. A guarantee of the best decision because experience has paid off. I had hoped by now, I would be wise. Not just able to make best decisions, but even know what decisions not to sweat. Wisdom comes with age, they say. Dad was old and he was wise. But I discover to my regret, age does not equal wisdom.

I say I want a heart of wisdom. Do I even know what that is? A heart to lead my mind to know what to determine to do or leave off. A heart that is wise and loving and humble, because if it were wise and loving it could not be proud.

Lord, You give one method for gaining a heart of wisdom. One. Period. Number your days aright, then you will gain a heart of wisdom. That’s it. Number the days aright.

Teach me, Lord, to number my days. I can count days. But numbering them is so much more.

I am not numbering my days in healthy ways. I use a desk calendar and a phone calendar and I keep track of appointments, meetings, dinners, mentoring sessions, workshops, and writing deadlines. This is not numbering my days.

A pristine morning starts each fresh day. I can unwrap this new, shiny day-gift whether the sun streams in or the rain streams down. The day’s number has arrived. A chance to start anew. Spend time well—with my loving Father who made me for relationship—and with those He gave me. A chance to make up for something I missed in a day I did not number aright. A reconciliation, a word of encouragement, a song of hope.

Numbering days aright is not as simple as it seems. It is so intensely present. I cannot number the days I have finished and accumulate satisfaction from those tasks over and done. I cannot number the days to come—I have no idea how many or few are mine. As a creature who has lived for decades, remembering things that ought to be remembered: liturgies, birthdays, farewells, mourning and celebrating, part of me looks back. As a mini-creator, I have lived for decades planning, anticipating, imagining events to come that I have worked for: classes, journeys, moves, children, so much to plan.

None of this is numbering my days aright. None of this leads to wisdom. Oh, it needs must be done. But it is not enough. 

To number this day aright, I must unwrap it gratefully. Not wish for a fast-forward button. I must treasure it for something that will never return. It is unique. There is no routine day in numbering. This day alone is the one I can redeem at this moment.

If I die today, my projects will remain incomplete. My computer will be untouched, perhaps scrapped: the photos and bits of writing stored in its “memory” will corrupt. The pile of stones I have collected from my hikes will be thrown into the garden. None of it will matter.

Only today matters because it is all I can number aright at this time. 
Each day is God’s gift for us to number with care, to delight in—not squander or regret.

Then, just maybe, I will look inside and find a heart of wisdom.


Jarm Del Boccio said...

This was so touching, Karen, and so true. It brought tears to my eyes. Can't wait to see you!! And enjoy your time with Bell and Luke. ;-)

Jerrene Watzel said...

I appreciated your evaluation of the movie and the book about the Mandelas. I have not read or seen either one. I love the way you write. Every word is well chosen.
My take on wisdom: It's not about how much you know as I used to think. In Proverbs and in James, wisdom is the humility to accept new ideas, to be taught by others that God is using to teach me. I don't have to know it all. What a relief!
God used my heart attack to heighten my sensitivities to the present, and not keep looking back and forward. Learning to find the wonder in the mundane! Being content: my current lesson is a very painful bout with gout. Why, when I have so many urgent jobs related to our business? He's teaching me to be content in whatever state I am! Thandi