When was the last time you thought about the value of the day?
Many of us go through life giving no thought to it whatsoever. We casually enter our daily routine with no sense of urgency and no specific intention. Even though we’re aware life is fleeting, it’s just not something we like to think about. Occasionally though, we’re confronted by a wake-up call that reminds us how significant each day really is.
It was bedtime when the phone rang. As soon as I saw the number displayed, I knew sleep would have to wait. Within a half hour, my brother and I were at the emergency room with our mother.
Middle of the night hospital trips are nothing new to us. They’ve actually become rather routine. When our mother’s medical conditions flare, she requires immediate care.
The three of us waited quietly in the exam room for test results. Breaking the silence, a voice on the loudspeaker called for transport to Labor and Delivery. Minutes later, a more frantic call for the transport begged for urgent assistance. The message was clear. A baby was coming. The mother-to-be needed a ride. Now!
We laughed as the urgent call put our own long wait in perspective.
As usual, our mother was admitted. Upstairs in her room, hospital personnel worked diligently to check vital signs, ask the long list of questions, and ensure she was comfortable.
Suddenly, a technician called the charge nurse to the hallway, “70’s dead!” Both sped to room 370 a few doors down.
“Hospital life,” sighed the only nurse remaining in the room.
The Important In-Between
After our mother was settled in and ready for sleep, we walked down the dimly lit hallway past the room of the recently departed and outside to the foggy darkness.
Bleary-eyed, I turned on the lights and windshield wipers and headed home. The misty air was much like my clouded mind trying to process overnight events.
In the wee morning hours of a Sunday in September, a new life entered the world as another made their exit. The date will be forever etched in the minds of loved ones as a day to celebrate or one to mourn. But while dates of birth and death are what we record and remember, what really matters most are all those precious days in-between.
Life, sweet life, is short. Each and every day is rare and priceless. The moments we waste, we can’t get back.
From that wake-up call, a powerful lesson emerged: Between the moment we inhale our first breath and the moment we exhale for the last time, we are here to live. We can let one aimless day drift into the next or we can fully engage each and every day. The choice is ours alone. And we make that decision every morning when we rise.
Today, I’m in. What about you?
Photo by Ben Loader on Unsplash