"Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath." Psalm 39:4-5 (NIV)
Tick…tick…tick…as I lay in the still of night, that was the only sound I could hear. It was quite poignant…and ironic. The last few days had been spent at the side of either my 92 year old granddaddy in the hospital or with my 89 year old grandmother at their home. Grandy, as we call him, fell and broke his pelvis and badly bruised his ribs. Tests revealed even greater troubles…a rampantly increasing PSA count (blood test for prostate cancer) and lesions on his lungs, as well as infection. The blue DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) band around his wrist blared as a constant reminder that the end of his earthly life could be near. He’s a “fighter” and pushed through the pain and hacking cough. He made the move to the rehab unit of a local nursing home, in a wheelchair and on oxygen. Our Nana, needing constant watch care because of her Alzheimers, remained at home…confused at where her husband of 70 years and her primary caregiver had gone. As we took her for visits, she grasped for understanding of what was about to unfold.
We have surely been blessed. Our daughters have enjoyed the rare privilege of not only having all four of their grandparents living, but also their great grandparents. Trips to Nana & Grandy’s were famous for excursions “across the creek” to throw rocks and skip stones, wearing Grandy’s hats, and riding in the back of the pickup truck on the gravel roads. There was always “work” to be done, either out in the yard with him, or in the kitchen with Nana, helping to roll out her infamous “stickies.” And there was always laughter, and lots of it…and stories, told and retold, to everyone’s delight. Aaaah, the sweetness of memories.
But endings are inevitable, this side of heaven. We all must face the fact that our time here on this earth will cease…as will that of our loved ones. And the clock ticks on.
As I left the nursing home, Grandy said, “Make every day count.” I thought of the ticking clock. I want to do that…make it all count. I want to imitate him and love unselfishly…be kind and do nice things for others…forgive (even if it’s over and over)…hug… and kiss…and laugh…and keep telling the stories that keep memories alive and people smiling.
Even more than I want to imitate Grandy, I desire to be like Jesus and follow His guidance. Check out these Scriptures that correspond so perfectly: Matt. 22:37-38, Matt. 25:40, Matt. 18:21-22, 2 Cor. 13:11-12, Psalm 126:2-3, Isaiah 38:19.
The prayer of Psalm 90 is far greater than any I could offer.