A good name is better than fine perfume,
and the day of death better than the day of birth.
One of my favorite musicians is Rich Mullins. I have loved his music for so long and more than that, I really love the way he spoke plain and straightforward truth without a lot of pretense. One of my treasured CDs is a special compilation that was put together composed of unreleased tracks and excerpts from concerts. In one of those, he is speaking about a song he wrote that speaks about death and how a reviewer criticized it as “morose.” He went on to remind the audience that for Christians, death is not a depressing thing or a thing to dread and mentioned this Scripture from Ecclesiastes.
Today, as I have celebrated the anniversary of another year of life, I also remember that life has an allotted time here on earth. We are not able to celebrate the day of our own death ahead of time. It would be an odd thing indeed if we were to even try. But by celebrating life, and the time that we are given; we acknowledge how precious each day and moment is. In fact, it is good for us to fully engage ourselves in the moment. We do not have any other place to be than in the moment we are living. So many waste time by worrying about what might happen tomorrow or fretting over what did happen yesterday. Both rob today of its time. Today is all we are given. This moment is all we have. And while the spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime moments are the ones that most people chase; we experience far more of the ordinary, everyday moments that we can make the most of at all times. Rich had something interesting to say about that as well:
It is for those every-once-in-a-while kind of moments – far more than for those once-upon-a-time ones – that we can be most thankful. It is in those moments that we find some sense of who we are. Regardless of how grand or how common the event of the moment is, in it we see ourselves at our absolute best – focused, poised and pure – no compromise, no ulterior motives, no self deception or pretense. We see what we are like when we have no point to prove or score, no bills to fit, no scrutinizing to endure… We meet again that child in us who stills loves to swim naked in the cold, quick-running waters of the now – the child in us who can feel in his skin and very bones the warmth and brilliance of the sun. In those moments there is that flash of astonishing recognition: this is not a child who is merely in us – this child is us.
As I start another year of time measured by the metric most appropriate to me personally (my birthday), I am focused on making the most of the time that I have been given.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.