Monday, January 7, 2013

The Gift of a Day

"All we have to decide
is what to do with the time
given to us."

Twenty four hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in a day.  Summer is five months away.  And the days go by so fast.  As if each boy needing meals, baths, and a full look in the face when they talk has sped up the time allotted.  Not enough time I think to fully stop what I am doing and hear that Levi is wishing once again that he will be a great dad and that he shouldn't buy a mini van but a bigger one, like the one he saw parked outside Walmart, because God may give him a lot of kids.  And Luke explaining the third time why the lego train he has designed could be so much better if he just had one more piece, a piece that was discontinued and only can be bought on e bay...  and Ian, his yelling loud and clear, mama and mommy, not sure which to go with, instead of asking  a quiet "help please".  Dinner is not thought of and homework is scattered over the dining table.  The days slip through my hands.  I start each one with a to do list.  People to contact, Basque information to be mailed and a database to be updated.  Baseboards and walls to be painted for the next occupants to smudge and stain in the family room.  Toys and other items to be sorted and given away.  And Ian always yelling mama mommy from another room.  Jarring my thoughts and forcing me to think about that moment only and his wants instead of the long list in front of me.  I do not do it gracefully.  I flit about from one thing to another.  Some moments are sung with joy and others are pushed through with anxious thoughts.  But we all get the same number.  The precious hours of each day.  From the moment our sleepy eyelids open to see the sunrise until they close in the dark.
Funny how the older we get the the faster the days slip by.  The more we  are tempted to wonder if what we have done in a day, a month, a year is enough.  If it could have been more.  Instead of seeing each day as a gift.  Each waking of the mind and body a complete miracle.  Undeserved and unrolled before us with a new chance to trust, give, laugh, weep, and breath. 
My father was told five years ago that he would have six months at most to live.  Congestive heart failure, a disintegrating graft, lungs that worked too hard.  We stood in shock, cocooned in preemptive grief.  Fear stole joy from those first days.  But each day he woke up and lived and closed his eyes again at night.  And each day the fear began to fade as he lived out the hours only God can give and no man can take away.  And he has wept, loved, given and lost, has wrestled and grown these five years.  He has bought new shoes he did not think he would have to buy over and over.  He has spoken words of love and encouragement to us,  words of life.  Not because it is on a to do list he holds tightly, but because he knows that moments of life spoken over his children and grandchildren are a gift.  

Undeserved and numbered, twenty four in each day and they are not wasted.  How tragic it would have been if we had all been too busy waiting in fear for death that we would have missed all the life given over the years.  How beautiful to live out the messy moments together day by day - refusing to dwell on why we are given extra and when that might end.   I am still prone to rush forward a mile a minute in action and thought.  As a kid I would hear my dad start to sing "Hold on your moving to fast, you've got to make the moment last..."  My mom would always chime in singing the Simon and Garfunkel song as we would all groan.  Now as adults we've learned to sing with them.  I pray that you are able to wake tomorrow feeling the gift of the day before you.  That you will not waste it waiting, fearing, or worrying about all the to dos and what ifs.  But that you receive it boldly and with intention to live a life of love out loud all 86,400 seconds of the day.

"Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain
a heart of wisdom."
                                        Psalm 90:12