So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. Psalm 90:12
We have been keeping vigil over the last few weeks at the side of a friend who is slowly dying after a long illness. She has slipped into a coma and the time is drawing near for her to cross over to the other side.
As I sit by her bed, holding her hand, watching her breathing, I speak with her husband and son. We recount stories of her life — how full of joy she always was, vivacious, friendly. She loved the Lord and she loved people. “She had a smile for everyone,” her husband tells me repeatedly. And indeed, she brought good cheer and sunshine into any room she entered.
All that is silenced and shadowed now as she labors on in this final lap of her journey. I tell her, “You have run a good race. The finish line is in sight. You’re almost there.”
Being with someone who is dying has caused me to reflect more on my own life. How am I running the race? What do I spend my time on? What worries and concerns fill my heart? Are my priorities what they should be?
Psalm 90:12 comes repeatedly to my mind. One translation says, “Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” Wisdom of heart entails knowing that all we have is this present moment to live and that life is short.
We don’t have unlimited time on this earth. We don’t have unlimited “do overs.” One of these days the Lord’s whistle will blow and my time on this playing field will be over. Have I spent that time well?
Help us, Lord, to live well, to be lavish in loving people, and to one day be united with You forever. Amen.