Tell me. What does your calendar look like? Do you mark the days off as they pass? Do you write in your appointments? Your milestones? Your due bills? Anniversaries? Birthdays?
Do you days pass by without meaning? Just an X in another day.
A reminder of when school is out. A holiday cue. A time change. A weekend. Another page to turn. Another month goes by until you have a full year. Then you begin anew. Another calendar. Another day. Another month. Another year.
Some days are like that for me. I just get through them and mark them as done.
But what if your calendar were your memories? What if they were your most precious moments? What if your desk was FULL of these memories and these years? That very thing was revealed at my Dads house. We discovered an overflow of keepsakes on his calendar and in his desk. Memories.
Over TWENTY years of calendar pages, pictures, cards, post cards, letters, and notes. Twenty years. All at his fingertips to browse the pages of his history. To remember, to know, and to live through each day in the simplest way.
Pictures of us small. Pictures of us big. Pictures of the grand kids and girlfriends past. Pictures of his mom and dad. A Methodist dedication certificate as a baby (which we had no idea about). Newspaper articles. Birthday cards and Father’s Day cards. Every nook and cranny stuffed with something important to him. The main event – the calendar that dominated his desktop written on each day.
I was stunned. My heart moved. The smallest details meant so much to him. Everything. Our visits. When he got a letter in the mail or a card. A phone call. Some small bit of news. A beautiful day. A rainy day. When he went to the park. The list goes on and on. Every day he wrote something to mark his path.
I’m not going to lie. To see these notes, cards, and letters, to know what it meant to him just to hear from us – it punched a hole in my gut. The guilt. Why didn’t I know? Why didn’t I visit more? Send mail more? Email more? Why? How do we get so busy to forget the little things?
I myself am a calendar saver. I, too, make notes on them. And sometimes, it’s nice to look back at my days just like he did. It makes me smile to reminiscence or feel proud to see last year’s achievement. I had no idea he did a similar thing, day in and day out, but I should have. He was a simple man, one of presence, who enjoyed what each day brought.
Uncovering the many tokens touched us deeply. We glimpsed these pieces of his life over the many years. It was almost as if he was still there. Smiling through the pictures. Laughing from an audio tape. Singing while playing guitar. Writing. His hand holding the pen pressed to the paper etching his every day movements. It was how my brother discovered he was in the hospital. When he went by to check on him – his calendar note read – bad sick.
It wasn’t easy to read some of them. Especially the months that went by with no visit, or correspondence from me. It was difficult to realize, I wasn’t there for him as much as I wish I had been. It was hard knowing how disappointed he must have been when he didn’t hear from me. I had to keep in mind what joy it brought him when he did.
I have to admit, ever since we found those in his desk, I don’t look at calendar days the same way. I see an empty space to make an entry. I see what is possible to sum up a day. I see such a simple act that brings life to treasure and love to always remember.
Today, make your day count. More than that, make someone elses day count. Be the entry on their calendar. Be on their record of purpose.
Be there, before their calendar days end.