October 1, 2023
Today my Pastor talked about dying, and how important it is for us to think about the fact that we are going to die one day. All of us. As a former Medical ICU and hospice nurse, I lost count of the number of people whose hands I held as they took their last breath, how many mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, or children I’ve had the privilege of walking through the last moments of their loved one’s life with on this earth, oftentimes while ending all of their life support.
I’ve watched a lot of people number their days.
Now as a chemotherapy infusion RN, I spend my days with people who are waking up every morning, truly thinking about the number of their days, and I’m absolutely convinced they’ve got some wisdom that one only gets when faced with that reality more bluntly than those of us going through our days moment by moment as if that day for us will never come.
But like Pastor Bob said, that day will come. What will be said of us? How will we be known? He’s absolutely right – it’s not only worth pondering, we are commanded to ponder it.
Pastor’s words today caused me to be reminded of a conversation I once had. No. Let me re-phrase that. I was reminded of someone who once expressed what seemed like an almost urgent concern about the fact that he was aging. It wasn’t really a conversation. I tried to encourage this gentleman, but mid-sentence he interrupted me. He listed all of the wonderful opportunities that God had gifted him with in his lifetime to share his faith, which was admirable, but then pointed out how no one else was doing what he was doing, and without going into any great detail, he spent the next five minutes detailing how everyone else just needed to be more like him, and continued to interrupt any attempt at encouragement.
I’m convinced that what we think about as we get older, and especially once we start approaching the end of our lives, matters more than we realize. I mean, if what other people ought to be doing is your focus, you’re just wasting more time, and you’re counting other people’s days, instead of your own. Scripture doesn’t say, “Teach us to number everyone else’s days….” It says, “Teach us to number OUR days.”
So, October…. I’ve got 31 days to learn more about what numbering my days looks like. Or, at least I hope I have 31 days. Who really knows? One down, 30 to go.
Lord willing (and the creek don’t rise, as my friend Linda says), tomorrow morning I’ll put on my school shoes and my sweet cancer patients will teach me a thing or two that I don’t know.
Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I want some wisdom, don’t you?
Oh, and by the way, October is breast cancer awareness month ladies, so check your ta-ta’s, and get your mammograms!