Old Testament: Genesis 47:27-48:7
Morning Psalms: Psalms 87, 90
New Testament: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Gospel: Mark 7:1-23
Evening Psalms: Psalms 136
“So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.”
Death and near-death situations always remind me that my days are also numbered, that I am mortal.
Many years ago, I was traveling in a train through the spectacular Swiss Alps, snapping pictures as fast as I could from every window in the car. It was my first vacation in a very long time, and struggling with life’s challenges -- difficult personalities at work, bosses with questionable character, and family drama -- I needed it badly!
So, totally immersed in the moment, far away from the job and the people and the routines that had become chores in my life, I was happy. Everything was beautiful. All was good.
Suddenly, cries of distress shattered the moment. I turned to see a woman literally clutching her chest. I couldn’t understand the French words she struggled to speak, but the fear and panic in her voice were unmistakable as she wrestled with her heart to cling to life.
A very long 10 minutes later, we arrived at the next station, where the woman was stabilized. Just for an instant, our eyes met, and I could see that she was calm, probably grateful for a second chance.
I continued on my journey, but as I stared out the window, I no longer saw the magnificence of the mountain range. What I did see was the importance of my job, the goodness of people, and the value of the routines in my life, however long or short that life would be. I understood that sometimes, to make the most of my days, to move towards having a wise heart, I just need to pray and to forgive.
Heavenly Father, I pray for grace and wisdom each time I wrestle with my own heart to cling to the life You would have me live, whatever the number of my days. Amen.