Sunday, November 8, 2015

30,000 Short Days

I often reflect on the brevity of life, and I love Moses’ prayer in Psalm 90:12, when he asks the LORD, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” In verse 10, he wrote, “The years of our life are 70, or even by reason of strength 80.” Interesting claims: first, because the humble leader Moses himself lived to be 120 (a 50% boost of his generalized lifespan estimate); second, because about 3,300 years later, even here in the wealthy and medically blessed U.S., a quick web search states that Americans’ life expectancy in 2015 is about 78.8 (or 81.1 for Minnesotans)—an extremely accurate fulfillment of Moses’ age-old psalm. (But life expectancies are often much lower in most of the world.)

Let’s take that Minnesotan stat as true and multiply it by 365.25. That means we Minnesotans are “expected” to live 29,622 days—just shy of 30,000. And just as the daylight is growing shorter as we approach next month’s winter solstice, I think most middle- and golden-aged readers would agree that from our perspective, each day, year, and life-stage seem to accelerate as we age. One year isn’t as long as it used to be for seasoned citizens.

Life is precious; time is short; the years (let alone the days) fly by. Love God, love others, and give thanks in all circumstances (truly divine commands). Some say “carpe diem,” and I concur if that means to not waste one’s life but seize opportunities to love and serve others TODAY. But a better phrase (prayer) in our short, trial-filled lives is, “Teach us to number our days.” 30,000 (if that) are far too few. Make them count, and lay up treasure in Heaven.