72…65…63…46…46…45…42…1/6…AND…0.016…Just numbers, right? As I look back on these past few months, these are numbers that stick out to me, for various reasons. Numbers that mean so much more to me, as I age, than I ever realized. I have always seriously respected and cherished the sanctity of life, but as I age and mature, numbers, like these, seem far more important to me now, than ever before.
Why are these numbers important? Because they represent milestones of the past several months. It’s not that suddenly these milestones are more important, because quite frankly, milestones like these have always been occurring around me. But when you start to reflect on family, friends, careers…LIFE…somehow such milestones seem to stand out, more and more, each and every year, as I age.
When I was younger, I never was much into writing letters, sending cards, or even the emerging social media platforms. I rarely read the newspapers and I only focused on news stories that I felt impacted my business and thus by default, my career. I spent quality time with the immediate family, as much as I felt I could, but quite frankly I spent far more time at work. My life became 50% career, 45% immediate family, 5% free time, and sadly about 5% worshiping God. Sadly, this was what I felt I had to do to sufficiently provide for my family. Because of this mindset, I fear I missed a whole lot of true living!!! As sad as I feel about this, I’m guessing my mindset was not too dissimilar than that of many others who struggled with the same challenges.
I missed out on time with wonderful people and friends I made along the way. I missed the loss of some of these friends and their loved ones, many of those losses, I did not even know about. I lost touch with many family members across the country and as my career evolved, I too lost touch with good friends whom I worked so hard with, in the trenches of growing our commercial businesses. Yesterday, I missed out on all these things, and more. But today, I not only embrace these opportunities, but I seek them out when and where I can …or sadly…when and where it’s not too late to do so.
So, what about these numbers. I have just listed the ones that have jumped out at me lately, but there are so many more that time won’t allow me to mention. Here is why I listed each of these numbers:
72 – The age of my wonderful sister-in-law’s husband who passed away earlier this month
65 – The age I achieved earlier this month, and by default the age that many of the friends of my youth are turning.
63 – The age of my best friend and special loved one – these are the three months every year where, by the number, she can say she is 2 years younger than me 😊
46 – This is the number of years that 4 (2 separate couples) of my good friends from high school have been married – they are so blessed to have each other and to be so blessed by God
42 – The number of years I have been so very very blessed to be married to my beautiful lady
1/6 – The age of my first Great grandson. He just turned 2 months old which equates to 1/6 of one-year 😊
Finally, the number; 0.016 – If you focus on any one number – FOCUS ON THIS ONE!!! If we are so very fortunate to live to be 100 years old, then 0.016 or 16 thousandths is the amount of time we have on this earth, to live our lives. Our lives are so very short, as our time, in comparison to the time since God created mankind, are just very tiny slivers of time, of the overall time that mankind has walked the earth. So, we must embrace our family and friends and truly love each and every person we encounter.
Today my maturity has finally caught up with me. My life is far more well-rounded, and God certainly is at the forefront. I thank Him every day for never leaving my side and always providing for, and protecting, me and my family. Because…GOD KNOWS, I probably definitely don’t deserve it as He has given me far more than I have given Him!
While I truly do thank God, and I am certainly more mature and have grown in my appreciation of family, friends, and LIFE, everyday I am reminded that my ability to embrace these wonderful people, and life, is beginning to wane. My “number” only continues to get higher and someday, my number will cease counting upwards. Family and friends have this same issue and thus I am starting to see this happen all too often. Today, I grab the newspaper, first thing every morning, and the first thing I do is check the obituaries. You may feel this is a bit morbid but it is reality because I don’t want to miss the passing of someone I know and/or a dear friend.
You see that covid, social media, civil unrest, the cost of an obituary, and cultural and personal judgement abounds. These things have become so prevalent, that people don’t talk to, or run into, each other, in public or otherwise, as much as they did before. So, we do lose touch, life then takes us in directions away from the people we know and love. Pretty soon a friend is only a name in an obituary. Yes, we celebrate their life, and/or mourn for them, but their “number” has stopped progressing and their life has been transformed from a strong, active, able-bodied breathing human to ONLY a memory. A memory that will become all too distant as those who do remember, see their “numbers” continue to climb.
This is important to state, and understand, because if we truly give our lives to God, and put all of our faith in Jesus, our age does not matter because we will have eternal life through the love and grace of Jesus. Whether we are anxiously yearning to get to those aging milestones of 13, 16, 18, 21, 25, or struggling to avoid the aging milestones of 60, 70, 80, and beyond, if we are so lucky to even get to these ages. The numbers are simply that, just numbers, because eternity awaits the true believers. And what’s so cool about eternity, is that we will get to live together with our loved ones forever, see those old friends and family members that we so dearly miss, and renew those friendships and relationships that we likely should have spent more time on in our worldly lives.
I leave you with a comment made by the Apostle Paul in a letter to the church in Corinth; “That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.”
~2 Corinthians 4:16-17
God Bless You My Friends – Embrace Life, honor friends, protect family, and worship, and thank, GOD!!!