October 08, 2005

Counting Again

I've been getting some mileage out of my revelations concerning the shortness of time.

Yesterday, one of my students was asking what the date was because it was covered up by the LCD projector screen. I replied that it was 7th of October 2005 and there would never be another one, so she should make the most of it. She didn't seem to think it was very important. She thought she had a lot of days ahead of her and this one didn't really matter too much.

I said, "I'm guessing you're 14." (It wasn't a difficult guess - nearly everyone is 14 at the beginning of Year 10.) "Let's say your life expectancy is 85. [Actually is it probably closer to 90, but I only calculated that later.] So you have 71 more years. Sounds like a long time. That's less than 26,000 days."

She was a bit shocked. "That's all?!"

"It's shorter than you think. How long do you think it would take to count those days, if you did it slowly - just one per second? Just over seven hours."

"That's like a school day!"

"Yep, if you came to school one day and spend the whole time counting, by the time you went home you would have counted out every day of your life. That's how important each day of your life is. You only get one shot at it."

Posted by david at October 8, 2005 10:19 PM

I`m glad you pointed this out to them.
At 14 you tend to think you are eternal, and that old age and death will never happen to you.
Make the most of what you`ve got and live each day as well as you can.
I just wish I could follow my own advice :-)

Posted by: Elizabeth at October 9, 2005 06:58 AM

Nice tips on how to communicate the shortness of earthly life to people. I guess I'm not the only one who's been preoccupied with mortality lately. I've been doing what I can to buy more tomorrows by losing weight, etc., but mostly trying to make the most of today & be prepared for eternity, too. As much as I sometimes miss being twenty years younger than my current age, the fact is, the young people who are there now won't be there for very long ...

Posted by: Michael at October 10, 2005 06:59 AM

Thanks for the reminder of how important each day is. As another birthday approaches, I realize that given your calculations my days are indeed numbered at a value far too small for my liking. Unfortunately, I am already a bit down. This does little to cheer me up, but perhaps I can find some silver lining in this. One thought is that I can offer to Him even my numerous failures which I have made during the many days I have been given.

Posted by: David W. at October 11, 2005 09:45 PM

The only silver lining I can offer is from Psalm 90:12-17 (89:12-1 LXX),

So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Return, O LORD!
How long?
And have compassion on Your servants.
Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.
Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Posted by: Dave at October 12, 2005 12:38 AM