Earlier this year I calculated my life in days. I estimated that if I live to a little over 80, the total amount of days would amount to roughly 30,000.
I then did something what a couple of my family members consider morbid. I took two big glass jars and filled them with 30,000 coffee beans. In one jar I counted the beans representing my days already passed, in the other jar the beans representing my days I still have left, should I make it to 80 years. Since I am well over half way to 80, one side is obviously fuller then the other.
Each night, I take a coffee bean and move it from one jar to the other. It is a very real reminder that my days are measurable. There is a definite amount of beans. One jar will run out. One jar will fill up.
This year many beans have moved from one jar into the other. There were days filled with hope and a sense of accomplishment and others were filled with a longing for Christ’s return. There were days I made new friends and days I made enemies. Most days were filled with mundane tasks hardly worth remembering while other days have left images that will be with me for the rest of my life.
There was that day filled with inexpressible sadness as we stood by the graveside of my friend’s 12 year old son. When I moved a bean that night, my heart was intensely aware of the frailty of this life.
There was the day of great joy and anticipation when we picked up my parents at O’Hara and the day the empty feeling accompanied us all the way back home and into bed that night, not knowing for sure when we would see them again.
Then there was that day we watched our oldest son walk across the stage of the high school auditorium while listening to “Pomp and Circumstance”, and then later that summer there was that day he moved his belongings to his own place. I remember standing by the jars and moving the beans with many questions on my mind.
Then there was the day in November when we adopted three of the most amazing kids, adding two girls and another boy to our three biological sons, making that day one of the most special all year.
It is good to look back. It is good to look ahead. But it is far better to look to today, for here God shapes our lives. Each night I move a bean, take from a jar, only guessing at the amount I have left. Only God knows how many beans I get to move. Bean by bean I fill up one jar and empty another. I fill up my memories and use up my opportunities. Bean by bean God fulfills His purpose, in and through all of us. May He make us wise as we consider all the days He has given us and the days He is going to give us.