In my June blog, I wrote a little about my sweet dad. But I didn’t tell you everything. I didn’t confess just how annoying he was.
My dad was a morning person.
Some of my “worst” childhood memories are of Daddy waking me up.
A World War Two Veteran, Daddy loved blaring Reveille on his shiny trumpet at the foot of my warm and cozy bed. Really?
Or, as he shaved each morning before heading off to work, he belted out his favorite hymns loudly enough for all of Elmer to be evangelized and for me to cover my head with a groan. No one should be so pleasant at 6:30 AM.
But I think Daddy’s favorite strategy was to cheerily call from the doorway, “Rise and shine! This is a day that the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Ah, the Bible dart! Straight from the Psalms to pierce and shame me. What’s a kid to do with that?
Daddy wanted us to “seize the day.” He taught us—and lived—that each day was a gift from our Father to treasure and use for His purposes. And we should be thankful for each one, no matter how rudely or how early we were awakened to it. It was almost like he knew he didn’t have a lot of time.
I’ve been thinking about that lately. I officially joined the ranks of the proud, Medicare-Card-Carriers this month. A few days later, I attended an unexpected, bittersweet funeral of a dear family member. There’s nothing like a few out-of-the-ordinary life events like these to get one’s attention. So I hit the pause button of my busy life. Speak, Lord. Let me hear from You. Let me get it.
Words spoken at the funeral service to the grieving family are still echoing through my brain. The pastor reminded those gathered of Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days…” Hmmmm. How am I doing with that? I’ve known to do this since childhood. Days are a gift to be stewarded, to be grateful for, to be lived for Jesus. Have I gotten off track? And, seriously, just how many days do I have left?
Moses, the author of this oldest of Psalms, seems to indicate that this awareness of our allotted time isn’t a natural exercise, that we thick-headed humans need a Teacher, a divine instructor to train us, to remind us that we are like grass that springs up in the morning, blooms and flourishes, but by evening, is dry and withered. He says that we then “fly away.” Not something too many of us care to think about, is it? But we should. And when we do, we need to cry out for the Teacher who will “teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
I want to be wise in the use of my limited number of days, don’t you? If I am carelessly breezing through them with no real purpose or intentional goals, living only for my own selfish pleasures and desires with no thought for tomorrow or for what God has for me to accomplish on my journey here, I am squandering a very precious, priceless gift, one I will never be able to recover. It only takes a few moments to glance at my ink-covered calendar or to open my checkbook or scroll through my iPhone to get a fairly accurate assessment of what I am doing with the days—the minutes and hours—of my brief life.
I don’t want to waste them. And I don’t want to be too busy to be able to meet a hurting friend to talk and pray—or to cuddle my grandchildren or take a walk on the beach or to feed my birds. It’s not about busyness at all...or accomplishing great things. It’s simply about making conscious, deliberate, and informed choices about the best use of each day I have…for my Father.
I think I need planned flexibility. I need to thoughtfully schedule all the important events of each day along with all of my ordinary tasks--while recognizing the Father’s ultimate authority and right to revamp and reorganize my day any way He sees fit. I release my day to Him, discerning He knows what’s best for me, how I need to be spending the moments I have been given. I need to pay attention to His promptings, to the divine interruptions He orchestrates for me. Then, at the end of each day, with a gratifying sense of accomplishing my Father’s will, my heart will rejoice and I will rest in His good pleasure.
Often, early in the morning, I pull my quilt up around my neck and smile. I find I’m waiting for Daddy’s voice (or his horn!) to rouse me from my sleepiness and get me up to “attack the day.” What a precious memory that is now…what a blessing to have been given such an “annoying,” wise dad like him.
So today, I listen for my Heavenly Father’s voice. He, too, wants me to embrace today. I don’t know how many todays I may have left before His trumpet sounds. Now that’s a blast I can’t wait to hear…early morning or not.
How about you?