This day will not come again

Daily I’m reading from “Hearing God’s Voice,” by Fr. Mark Burger. Today’s short essay was titled, “Savor the Time You Have.” Fr. Mark included a Chinese poem that in his view sums it up:

Not twice this day,

Inch of time, foot of time

Each a gem.

This day will not come again.

Each minute is worth a priceless gem.

I was sitting in my comfortable rocker-recliner in the study looking out the window at the birdfeeder hanging outside. A small gray bird swooped from a nearby tree and landed on the feeder.

As a human being I have a sense of purpose and responsibility. I believe my life should count for something; I should be a productive member of society in whatever form that takes. I should make my time here on earth count. When I die, what will have been the point of my being here? As a human, I think about these things.

I’m pretty sure the little gray bird was not encumbered by such contemplations this morning as she sought seed to fill her belly and nurture her body. I’m pretty sure that little beautiful creature was not worrying about solving the problems of the bird-world. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t concerned about how much time she had on this earth. I suspect she doesn’t have a clue that her days are even numbered.

There is a big difference between most of the creatures of this planet and the human creatures.

As a human society we create governing structures, seek knowledge, strive to improve the quality of life. But then as a human, thinking society, we have individuals who seek riches and power at the expense of others. A lot of our human effort is spent countering these negative tendencies of our human nature.

I don’t think the little gray bird has to deal with that. Although from time to time it has to guard against the big hawk that sometimes perches on a limb high in the tree.

Sometimes the expectation that I have to make something of my life feels weighty. Sometimes I want to feel unemcumbered like the little gray bird darting, swooping and dancing through the air, the sunlight warm on its back, in search only of another seed.