A Moment of Good Advice for All

Whether or not one holds to any faith, much less that of Judaism, which gave rise to the Psalms, or Christianity, which took them into its heart, these words are words for the wise.

Psalm 90:12

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.(KJV)

Teach us to number our days aright,
       that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
  (NIV)


Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.  (Translation from Liturgy of the Hours)


As I said, whether or not one believes in God, it is good to know and remember that as good as the days are and as wonderful as life can be, it is not forever.  As to whether anything follows--that is a matter for faith.  But what concerns us here and now is to understand how that shortness of life can inform the heart and make it both compassionate and wiser--not choosing foolishly among the many foolish choices that can make up a life.  Our choices, in a very real sense, end up defining who we are for better or for worse.  Those choices are acts of will that make the world a little better or a little worse for everyone in it.  And they extend from the enormous and influential issues that rest on the shoulders of our leaders to what it is we have for breakfast.  Each thing we choose precludes, obstructs, or displaces millions of other choices and defines in the bleak unknown that lies ahead where we can go.  Some choices more so, others less so.  And this is the beginning to wisdom--to know that every choice has an influence and care must be exercised for all--but the color of your hallway carpeting is perhaps less meaningful than what you do about your neighbor who has no food.

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