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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Numbers

Numbers have invaded the word-saturated home in my head. Barely had they arrived when they took their places on straight-backed chairs at the table. Before long, they were lounging in the leisure areas and making themselves quite at home.

These not-entirely-familiar guests did not enter uninvited. I had sought them out, asking them to move in for a few days to help with some ongoing renovations.

The first team arrived shortly after Christmas for the express purpose of tracking the points of my daily food intake. Every intended morsel was assigned a number, and if the numbers worked within the daily total, I was allowed a taste.

Reinforcement numbers arrived to help me with a financial renovation. In their take-charge way, they insisted on tallying every penny that either entered or exited my pocket. Adding insult to annoyance, they asked me to anticipate future purchases, as if I could possibly know what I wanted to spend before I even shopped for it.

Now it is budget time at work. More numbers are arriving daily. See how this is going?

Numbers are persistent taskmasters. Once inside my head, they insist I play by their rules or quit the game. If I want to reach my intended objective, I have to converse with them daily. When we have a disagreement, they always seem to win.

Gradually we have become familiar and comfortable companions, and my life is the better for their involvement. I have learned to appreciate these numbers that are ordering my life. They provide concrete goals and help me reach them. They break an over-whelming task into achievable steps. They make the dreamy narrative of my weight and checkbook a workable reality.

Without numbers, I would continue to wander in an aura of ‘hope so’ instead of walking a pathway of ‘working toward.’

It is for this reason, I believe, the Bible tells us to number our days. In life, as in caloric points and household budgets, there is an unchangeable, finite total. The end of my days will reflect the accumulation of how I have invested my moments. I am learning to count the cost of what it means to live each day with the end in sight.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12