Birthdays can be big deals, can't they? I remember exactly how I spent my 30th birthday... at a youth conference with thousands of teenagers! 40 seemed like a pretty big deal but then 50 came along! Yikes! We sometimes shrug and say, It's just a number. But in many ways counting counts! And it's not about numbers - no one likes to feel like they are just a statistic in a system. It's about showing up and participating fully in whatever life has summoned you into. It goes something like this:
Our voices count whether there's a formal vote or not. We all have thoughts and ideas and opinions to share! Our hands count whether there's a structured plan of action or not. We all have energy to contribute to a group effort! Our presence counts whether official attendance is taken or not. We all need to take part in a cause or community greater than ourselves! This kind of counting is more about quality than about quantity. It's about mattering. It's about making every minute of every day count. And it's about realizing that we count.
Some people are better at math than others. Some people can quickly do calculations in their heads. Others come up with picturesque imagery in describing something. Some people remember phone numbers and account numbers and combinations of numbers with ease. Others can recite poetry or create clever puns with words. But whether a person prefers numbers or feels more comfortable in the company of words, every person counts.
Herbert Brokering created an interesting little book published in 1974 called "I" Opener; 80 Parables. Each parable has something to teach us about faith and about church and about life as it invites us to see differently. One of my favorites goes like this:
Once there was a minister who took up welding junk. He is more famous for his junk sculpture than for his sermons. What's he's most famous of all for is helping people not throw away what seems to be unimportant. In fact, he doesn't throw anything away. He claims it can somehow be used to make something valuable. Everyone is looking twice at everything. Also at persons.
That's who counts! Each and every one!