In the Meantime,
June 16, 2022 – Arizona
Notable days clump up sometimes. For example, June 13 was my wife’s birthday. June 14th was flag day. June 15th was tax day (for those who pay quarterly like me). June 16th is Bloomsday (look it up). There are also all those official ‘days’ like fudge day, prune day, strawberry shortcake day, but we will leave them to one side; though eating fudge and strawberry shortcake goes well with national bourbon day, come to think.
All these special days (and every day is special in some way to someone) are ways we try to give meaning to life. We remember special occasions far better than last Tuesday. Though I remember Emerson saying eternity was so immense for us humans to grasp that God mercifully divided it into days which we could understand, in fact we do not remember most of our days unless they stand out. I suppose that is why we have so many special days!
When I am home for the weekend I attend a synagogue. That has been my other spiritual home for over twenty years now. At service, rabbi repeats a proverb when acknowledging the birthday of an elder member that says, “Most people count their days, but a person of wisdom makes every day count.” That’s very like a verse from psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” The key is making the day count.
How do you do that? That’s not a rhetorical question. What do you do to make every day count? In a sense that is what spiritual life is – making your life today count for something. Horace Mann said, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” That’s a tall order, but as a person told me today, something I said changed her life for the better. That was a special day for her whether I knew it or not.
Maybe, then, remembering our days is not the point, as if the best life is one with the most vacation photos. It is when we have left a mark on someone else, who will remember that day and you because of it. Thus do not feel ashamed if you personally have not saved the world. Perhaps the days are to help us remember that even a day or a moment in a day, even a person of just a word or an act, has the power to make a difference in a life. – FW