A Question to Ask at the End of the Day
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Mike calls me out on the porch to watch the sunset.
It is glorious — fiery red, dazzling orange with a bit of purple mixed in. We are in awe and enjoy the companioned silence.
Seven years ago we decided to downsize — give away or throw away pretty much half our life’s ‘stuff.’ After living for twenty years in a beautiful, large colonial parsonage, we were eager to settle into our own little nest. The fact that this cottage was high on a hill was a great determining factor for our future home. Christened “Sunnyside” we looked forward to such things as sunsets and vistas of the surrounding New England village.
It seemed appropriate that for the ‘sunset’ time of life, we chose this verse for our home: “May God be merciful and gracious to us, and cause His face to shine upon us and among us.” (Psalm 67.1)
He is and He does. All the time. So I endeavor to thank Him all day long.
And now it’s time for bed. I set the alarm, turn on my sound machine (ocean waves) and snuggle deep into the warm fleece sheets. As my mind settles over the story of my day, I ask the only truly important question.
“Did my life today please you, Lord — have I loved well?”
St. John of the Cross once said that “at the evening of our day we shall be judged by our loving.” Perhaps that means that my list of what was done and what was left undone is not as important as how I attempted each task, each encounter.
“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” What small things did I do today — and were they done with love?
I usually go to sleep quickly once my head hits the pillow, but I linger a bit for three final rituals: pray through the names on my family list, ask forgiveness for today’s sin, and begin my litany of praise for every single blessing. Sleep often overtakes me before I can even finish… “let the Lord’s name be praised.”
Have I loved well?
Ken Gire says that if we can answer yes to that sunset question, it is enough. “It may not be enough for our employer. It may not be enough for our fellow workers. It may not be enough for all the carpools and committees and other things on our calendars. It may not even be enough for us. But it is enough for God. And that should make it enough for us.”
Live with a grateful heart. Love well. And sleep in peace.
under the mercy, Cindy
©2017 Lucinda Secrest McDowell – adapted from Ordinary Graces (Abingdon Press)
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