“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” —Muhammad Ali
Recall a great scene from the film LA Story: The weatherman, played by Steve Martin, is delivering his typical forecast. As he throws little yellow magnets on the map, he yells “Sun! Sun! Sun! Sun!” He seems exasperated that warm and sunny days are all he gets to predict.
Of course, the next days see tremendous downpours of rain. When we have too much of a good thing, we often begin to take it for granted.
Counting is Growing
The Jewish calendar offers an antidote for this tendency. We are in the midst of a fifty day period known as the “counting of the omer.” For fifty days we say a blessing and mention what day in the cycle of counting it is.
During this period, I also say a verse from the Psalms: “Teach us, O God, to number our days so that we may a heart of wisdom.” To me that verse defines the purpose of this period of counting. We count in order to grow. We count in order to make each day count.
Is Muhammad Ali Right?
Thus, Muhammad Ali was 100% half-right. Counting the days and making them count are not antithetical. We count the days to remind ourselves that each day counts.
Each day we can learn a new skill, make a new friend, make a small difference in another person’s life. Each day is an opportunity to explore and enjoy the mysteries of creation. Each day we can move a little closer to the person we seek to become.
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