While at St. Charles Borromeo Church, I was called to the Emergency Department at the local hospital one day to anoint a man from the church. When I arrived, he was in the room was his wife and children all around him. I never knew what to expect, especially when called to visit someone in the Emergency Department. I greeted him and his family, and we chatted for a while. His wife was right by his side, and I could tell that they had been married for many years. At one point, his children said to him, “Dad, tell Father Mark how long you have been married to mom.” When I heard this, I thought that maybe they were testing him to make sure he still had his memory and wits about him. However, I was surprised when he gave me the exact number of days that he had been married to his wife! He knew to the exact day how long he had been married to her. The rest of the world counts their marriages in years. Not him. He counted his relationship with his wife in days.
What a wonderful number! He can tell you the number of days he has been in love with her! He can tell you the number of days he has had such joy in his life! He can tell you the number of days that he has lived life with his beloved, and wouldn’t trade one of them! Who of us could do that?? (Are some of you getting your calculator out right now??)!!
That man in the Emergency Department reminded me that life is measured in days and moments, and not just years. He was not only counting his days, he was counting his blessings. He was blessed beyond measure! The family that was surrounding him was a reminder to him of how many deeply life-giving moments of love he has experienced. And, I wonder, as he lay there, might he wonder how many more moments of love he will have? In the end, I don’t think it really mattered to him because what he saw in that room was a whole lifetime of love, laughter, heartache, reconciliation, joy and peace. He saw God.
It would be an interesting endeavor to calculate the number of days that we have been alive. To see and really look at that number. In that number are days of goodness and life. And there are days of hopelessness and despair. All of them giving us the totality of living life. What might it be like for us to commit ourselves to just this day in a way that we choose to live it to the fullest! To see it as a day filled with blessings and life! Wouldn’t that be a great day! To put that day, and every day forward into that great number of days that we have been blessed!
The man did eventually die. But, he died with a whole lotta days filled with light, blessings, life and love.