“So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
– Psalm 90:12
Each year when I celebrate my birthday, which I recently did, and especially as I advance further into senior citizenship I cannot help but be reminded of the brevity of life, and that I must try to use the time I have left more wisely in ways that will bear lasting fruit. How can I make a difference, and in what ways can I have a positive influence? What steps should I be taking toward those purposes? Thus age, thankfully, does teach us to number our days, and with an increasing sense of urgency to apply our hearts to wisdom.
By the time I had become friends with Froggy, as we all called him, it was evident that he had become aware that his days were numbered by his sense of urgency to apply his heart to wisdom. Froggy was a Vietnam veteran having served as a helicopter pilot. So horrific were his war experiences that he suffered PTSD the rest of his life. Froggy also, by his own admission, had been a pretty notorious partier for a good part of his life. Thus, by the time I got to know him his hard living coupled with the PTSD were taking a toll on his health. It was during that time of his life I had the opportunity spend lots of hours in conversation with him sitting in Starbucks sipping coffee. There I learned about his yearning to make a difference and be a positive influence, to bear lasting fruit.
We both had become involved in a community outreach program, and on one particular occasion he and I made a call together on a man who had fallen on hard times to see if we could help with his utility bills. As we sat there in the man’s tiny living room listening to his sad story I happened to look over at Froggy and noticed tears filling his eyes and the chin of his ruddy face starting to quiver. Suddenly and spontaneously Froggy’s old gruff voice broke into prayer for the poor gentleman we were visiting. So moved was the man by Froggy’s prayer and compassion that he too began to weep, as did I. Froggy’s days ran out not long after that, but I think about him often and how aware he’d become of his numbered days. It had been my great privilege to be his friend in those final years and to witness the increase of his wisdom and the fruit he bore. Well done Froggy!