The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 13, 2013

How do you want to use those precious days you have left?

Keeping The Faith column

By Bev Davis

— Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published Jan. 22, 2003. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.

I’ve often heard the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted,” but never knew its origin until recently.

A story in an old issue of Reader’s Digest titled “Lessons of Aunt Grace” tells the story told by Nardi Reeder Campion about her elderly aunt who had become disabled and dependent on her family.

Campion found her Aunt Grace’s diary, which included the following entry.

“I know I must be cheerful. My situation isn’t going to change, so I shall have to change,” the elderly woman had written.

Aunt Grace coined the phrase, “bloom where you are planted,” and listed six things she would do every day to bring meaning into her life and the lives of those she loved.

- Do something for someone else

- Do something for myself

- Do something I don’t want to do, but that needs to be done

- Do a physical exercise

- Do a mental exercise

- Say an original prayer that includes counting my blessings

Her niece carried on the legacy and found these six simple goals to be life-changing.

Karen O’Connor, author of “Squeeze the Moment,” recounts the story and adds a seventh goal:

- To look for joy in unlikely places

“These are not rules, but reminders,” O’Connor wrote. “They help me to squeeze the most out of each moment.”

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I’ve been attempting these myself, and unlike trying to follow New Year’s resolutions or other goals I’ve set, these easily blend into the warp and woof of daily living.

I must admit the seventh is the most rewarding — to look for joy in unlikely places. This is also the most challenging of the lot.

Another little zinger presented to me this week punctuated the need to make every day count.

Try this.

Multiply your age by 365 to determine the approximate number of days you have already lived. Subtract that number from 25,550, which is the number of days in 70 years  — an average life span for Americans. The difference between the two numbers is the approximate number of days you have left.

How do you want to use them?

Do you want to merely spend those days, or do you want to invest them?

If God allows me to live beyond 80 years and the time comes when I am confined and have to spend my days reflecting on the ones that have passed, I do not want to look back and see days filled with bitterness, strife, negativity and lost opportunities. I want to see days filled with meaning, purpose, fulfillment and commitment to Godly principles.

I’m counting on the joy of that kind of a life to carry me through one of the most unexpected places — the somber days that usually come near the end of life.