Numbering our days
When I was in college, I developed a bit of a bad habit. My roommates and I, at any given time, would make one of those homemade paper chains and hang it from the ceiling to help us mark the days to the next major event. Finishing a big test. Homecoming Weekend. Spring Break. Or the end of the semester. We were always counting down to the next big thing.
It might sound a bit benign, but I’d call it a bad habit. It seemed like I spent so much time looking forward to the next thing, writing the next paper, or finishing up the next semester, that I spent less time just enjoying any given day. My efforts were focused more on the future and less on the present.
In recent months, I’ve found myself feeling a lot like those college days, just without the paper chain. And, I suppose, without anything specific to look forward to.
Nearly everything about our daily lives is different these days. Limiting our social interactions, missing the joy of togetherness (on Sunday mornings especially), needing to distance when around other people, and dealing with so much uncertainty about just how long everything will be so different.
I can’t help but wish these days away so we can get back to some sense of normalcy. I long for the days when I can eat in a restaurant without a care in the world or hug a friend without the concern of potentially passing on deadly germs. I find myself just dreaming of those better days, still to come.
But then… I’m reminded of the words from Psalm 90 that say, “Teach us, O God, to measure our days, that we may gain a wise heart.” From the stories of daily manna provided for the Israelites in the wilderness to Jesus teaching us to pray for our daily bread, again and again scripture tells us the importance of each, single day. There is no use in looking ahead, if we haven’t taken notice of today.
Every day is an opportunity to grow in faith, learn from one another, or gain some new perspective. Each day is a gift in itself. It’s an offering from God to use such a day to show compassion, share love, or receive forgiveness.
No one would disagree that these current days are less than ideal. We all wish for better days where sickness, uncertainty, or stress are not all-consuming. But my hope is that we might also find the gift in each day God has given us. To discover the goodness of God’s presence in this, particular day.
Perhaps a recent prayer from ELCA pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber sums it up best:
If comparison is the thief of joy, then Lord, help me not compare my life today to my life 6 months ago. Help me find the joy in THIS life and in THIS day and to know that it is from you, and it is enough. Amen.