It hangs in my kitchen between the calendar and the cleaning schedule.
I pass it every time I enter the kitchen.
And it’s a daily reminder that my time on this earth is limited.
We all do it: we all assume we have forever.
We assume that we’ll get married, have children, grow old and gray, see our grandchildren.
I was bouncing along in my early 20s, no idea that there was a disease growing in my body. No idea that doctors had missed it because I was so young and unlikely to be seriously ill.
I was bouncing along thinking I had forever.
But I soon learned don’t have forever.
If this disease doesn’t kill me, it will most likely be a complication connected to the disease.
Maybe thyroid cancer.
Or uterine cancer.
Or maybe breast cancer.
My days are limited.
And I have a secret: so are yours.
You can live like you’ll live forever if you want to, but that doesn’t change the fact that you won’t.
Living like you have forever means you pass up conversations you should have now or you ignore relationship stuff that shouldn’t be ignored.
My mortality stares me in the face almost daily.
I take medication that helps me walk without pain.
I take a handful of pills that make my thyroid, adrenals, intestines, pancreas, pituitary, and liver –hopefully– be nice to me for 24 hours.
I’m keenly aware that it can all turn on a dime, and I could be rushing to the doctor with gushing blood, unexplained pain, or difficulty breathing.
I know –because it’s happened before.
And it will happen again most likely.
I stumbled upon that verse many years ago and prayed that God would teach me to number my days and give me the wisdom to make wise choices in the time I was here on this earth.
He answered that my prayer in a profoundly life-altering way.
He allowed me an illness that keeps me from forgetting.
When I wake up in the morning and my whole body hurts, I’m reminded that I’m not long for this world.
When I have my blood drawn again, I’m reminded that I’m not long for this world.
When I go in for yet another test to try to determine what’s wrong with me, I’m reminded that I’m not long for this world.
When my 12 year old, understanding just how sick I am compared to his friend’s moms, says, “Mama, I don’t want you to die,” I remember that my time here is short indeed.
But here’s the thing: we think of my time being short because I have the potential to die tomorrow.
News flash: you have the potential to die tomorrow too.
Your tomorrows are no more guaranteed than mine are.
You, just like me and just like the Psalmist, need to be reminded that you will not live forever.
This fact motivates us to love a little deeper.
To give a little more grace.
To forgive a little more.
To say the unsaid things.
Teach me the number of my days that I may apply my heart to wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Understanding that your time on earth is limited makes you inclined toward wiser choices.
I’ve been proactively tying up loose ends in my relationships –things that I wish I had said but didn’t, things I shouldn’t have said and need to apologize for, and relationships where I failed to give grace and forgive as Christ does.
One example of this is my letter to my sons which could also be titled “how to make your children cry.”
Maybe you need a reminder to number your days too?
Hopefully not an autoimmune disease, but maybe this verse displayed where you can see it.
A reminder that even if you do grow old, your lifetime is a drop in the bucket compared to eternity, and once you die you can’t fix what you left broken and undone.
You can only do it now.
While you’re still here.
So choose wisdom and live wisely.