I love a new calendar, and I especially enjoy finding one with a fun theme and bright illustrations. I look at the empty, fresh white squares and check when Christmas falls, write in vacation dates, and anticipate first and last days of school.
Then when December 31st, is over, I save my calendar because it reads like a book with a plot sometimes planned, but other times filled with surprises and hastily scribbled detours. The settings change and the characters grow. Sorting through all the activities, I may even find a theme. I hope it’s rich with love and commitment to what is important: faith, family, and friendship.
Some squares are filled with scribbles, fine print squished into what little white space remained. Too much of everything. Did I ever pause?
And then I think of Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town. In Act III, Emily’s departed spirit returns home during her own funeral. Given the opportunity to relive one day of her life in Grovers Corner, she chooses her 12th birthday. But instead of experiencing joy, Emily finds, “We don’t have time to look at one another.” Commenting on how fast life goes, she declares, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?”
The Psalms contain verses that echo Emily’s sentiments. “Show me Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days and let me know how fleeting my life is” (Psalm 39:4) and “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Perhaps, like Emily and the psalmist, when we jot notes on the calendar square, we should number each day, appreciate and wonder at the gift of it. And most of all, pray to gain a heart of wisdom as we value its “every, every minute.”