A numbered family and numbered days
It’s the Eve of the Eve, and I’m at a coffee shop. No big surprise there. The last few days, however, have been momentous personal ones. Our daughter is a senior at Christopher Newport University. Saturday evening Adelyn got engaged to an outstanding young man, and the 12-month countdown to a December 2021 wedding began. Our son got married in a backyard beautiful pandemic wedding in April (complete with a drive-through reception!). So our family is growing in number. Everyone has been spending the last several days at our house for the holidays. It’s been full and fun.
It’s been a full, crazy, tumultuous year. I don’t need an adorned paragraph of prose to summarize it for you. “2020” says it all.
Most of you who follow me know that we determined early on as a family to continue living, abundantly, during this pandemic. People can quibble or argue with me over my reasons and motives and science and masks and all, but ultimately, it’s all just blah, blah, blah. I’m not uncaring or insensitive. It’s just that there’s too much negative and too little time to truly live in this world to abandon relationships and face-to-face and joy and love and beauty and freedom.
So there’s that.
Long after the masks come off, people will continue to wear masks. I don’t mean physical ones. We all hide to some degree. We hide our frailties and fragilities, our failures and fears, our hangups and heartaches. We don’t like being vulnerable.
This mental and emotional resistance to living a revealed life seems to have carried over into the physical realm during the pandemic. I am active on Twitter and was stunned to discover hundreds of tweets the other day from people who say they will continue to wear masks in public long after the pandemic is over because they feel “safer” and more comfortable behind them. Do they understand that safety is an illusion? Everyone seems to think we actually can lengthen our days and prolong our lives through self-effort, healthy eating, exercise and affixing fabric on our faces. Yes, take care of yourself. No, don’t live in fear.
My numbered days
I take great comfort at Christmas that God has numbered my days before I was born. He created the beginning and the ending parentheses in which I would live. No great effort on my part can thwart His will and love for me. That’s not fatalistic. It’s an act of faith to live life fully and freely in His loving gaze and care.
“…a person’s days are determined and the number of his months depends on You, and since You have set limits [beyond which] he cannot pass…” (Job 14:5)
David prayed/sang in the Psalms:
“LORD, make me aware of my end and the number of my days so that I will know how short-lived I am. In fact, you have made my days just inches long, and my life span is as nothing to you. Yes, every human being stands as only a vapor.Selah Yes, a person goes about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they rush around in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them. “Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:4-7)
So as I reflect on a growing family, growing faith and a crazy year, I am both sobered and satisfied. I’m thankful even as I’m burdened. I cast my cares upon Jesus, for I am completely confident that He cares for me. I cast and I pull up the serving of life that God has served me, and I dine freely. Sometimes it’s cake (yum). Sometimes it’s sushi (yuck).
Some numbers grow – like in a family due to marriage or engagement. Some numbers shrink – as in our days as they tick by. When we recognize increase and decrease and are thankful for both, we grow in spirit and perspective.
I wish for you at Christmas a full, joyful, carpe diem life.
The theater here in Blacksburg opened up under new ownership last week. I was beyond excited. We all went on Monday and saw Elf on the big screen. With lots of popcorn. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the store Santa walks in, and Will Farrell ecstatically screams, “I know him!” (lots of spiritual implications there)
Some may say this kind of living is blind, naive, or even reckless. That’s ok. They can turtle if they prefer. I have a different perspective. Even as my family’s number is growing, my numbered days are shrinking. I choose to celebrate both in faithful thanks.