Early this morning, three men died in the water near Miami, Florida. I don’t know much about two of them, but I know that one of them was an amazingly talented pitcher named Jose Fernandez. In twenty-four years, Jose had fled Cuba for the United States, played professional baseball, and been a friend, a son, a boyfriend, and an expectant father. Everything that I’ve read about him describes a man who loved life, who loved other people, and who lived with great joy. He did what he loved, and he made sure to share that joy with others.
I was particularly struck by a quote I read from the managed of the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Emphasis mine.) “If you use your eyes and ears, there’s reminders throughout your week that life’s short and you don’t call all the shots. A sense of gratitude and a sense of joy needs to be more prevalent. … It’s just sad. It’s so horribly sad on so many different levels that there’ll be no more of that, there’ll be no more of him, there’ll be no more of that emotion on the mound, that skill set, that human being, that young man with such a gift, such a great smile. … Be where your feet are. Enjoy the moment. There’ll be a day where there won’t be another day.”
Let me repeat that. Be where your feet are. Enjoy the moment. There’ll be a day where there won’t be another day.
Our days are numbered, but none of us know the numbering of our days. Arnold Palmer died today at the age of 87. Jose Fernandez was 24. There was a numbering to each of their days. Arnold was allowed the long path; Jose was given a shorter path. But for each of them, there came a day when there was not another day. That day will come for each of us, and the same question that is being asked of them today will be asked: How did we use our days?
It’s easy to say “Someday I will…” but lately I’ve been thinking that someday doesn’t always come. It’s easy to say that you’ll do something when you’re older or richer or healthier or thinner, but the reality is that we don’t always get a someday. We eventually run out somedays, and we don’t always find that day when we’re prettier, richer, or more successful. We have to make the most of what we have. Our lives are judged by what we have done, not by what we might have done.
For me, the lesson of Jose Fernandez’s death is to make the most of the time that we’ve been given. Don’t wait for someday. Don’t procrastinate on life. We don’t know how many days we have. We can’t assume that there will be a day when we’re richer or smarter or thinner. We need to act now. We need to live now. Choose joy. Choose passion. And live. For God’s sake, live. We don’t know how many days we have, so we have to use those that we have as best we can.
So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.