99 Days

May 5, 2015

Any idea what Hyperthymesia or HSMA is? I didn’t expect you would. I had to look it up.  HSMA stands for “highly superior autobiographical memory It is a rare “condition, gift, ability” whereby an individual can recall the personal events of each day of their lives. Give them a date and they can tell you where they were and what they were doing. There are only a handful of people in our country (less than 20, I believe) who have been diagnosed with this extraordinary “talent.” One is actress Mary Lou Henner. You might remember her from her role on the TV series “Taxi” which ran from 1978-1983.

I saw Miss Henner on a television show some time ago along with several other people with HSMA. To say it was fascinating and kind of freaky is an understatement! Imagine being able to recall the events of EVERY day of your life!  All of us have certain dates that stick in our minds. We can remember them as if they were yesterday. Usually they are associated with a significant event; the death of a loved one; a happy event like a wedding or the birth of a child; maybe a day when we received unwanted news; a graduation? I don’t know how many dates we can recall… but EVERY DAY? That seems impossible. And yet… I saw people do it.

Think about your life for a moment. If the average person lives to be 80… they will have seen 29,200 days. If 100 of those days stands out to us that means we can recall .0125 percent of the days of our lives.  That’s about 1/100th of one percent. (I think…) That means you can recall about 3 of 1000 days. (Please someone who has something other than a seminary degree, check my math.) That also means that approximately 99 out of 100 days are less than extraordinary… or maybe even mundane.

Here is the truth of our lives… it’s the 99 days that really tells who we are. They indicate our heart, character, and integrity. No doubt, significant events or crises can reveal part of our character, but it’s the day after day living that exposes our mettle. Not unlike those who show up for church on Easter and Christmas, right? What does that tell about their devotion to corporate worship? Very little… the other 50 weeks of the year are the “tells.” But let’s not go there… at least not right now.

Below are a few verses concerning the “days of our lives.”

Psalm 39:4

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.

Psalm 39:5

You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.

This is a tough one:

Psalm 90:9-11

All our days pass away under your wrath;     we finish our years with a moan. 10 Our days may come to seventy years,     or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,     for they quickly pass, and we fly away. 11 If only we knew the power of your anger!     Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due. 

Psalm 102:11

My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

Psalm 139:16

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Ecclesiastes 2:16

For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die!

Ephesians 5:15-17

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

It would be naïve for me to encourage you to remember each day. That just can’t and won’t happen. But it is possible to remember that each day is important. Each day gives the opportunity to honor God in who we are and in what we do. It’s great if you can “step to the plate” during a crisis, but it tells little of who you are. Live each day for God. Honor and glorify his name in ALL you do. Not in the sporadic moments when we “feel” compelled to give Him some credit. It’s the 99 days that will indicate who you are In Christ.

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4 thoughts on “99 Days

  1. Excellent, Bill. By the way, on the off-chance you are in Virginia next week, I’m including an invitation for our big event of the year.

    Christopher Fay
    Executive Director
    Homestretch
    303 S. Maple Avenue
    Falls Church, VA 22046
    (703) 237-2035 x 118
    http://www.homestretchva.org

    Homestretch has earned many honors including the Governor’s Best Housing Program in Virginia Award, the Blue Diamond Award from the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce for Outstanding NonProfit, and awards from Leadership Fairfax, Volunteer Fairfax, and the Washington Post; and Homestretch has been selected three times for inclusion in the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Homestretch is a member of the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign.

  2. In my twenties I thought I had it all figured out. How naive I was. My thirties was so career oriented I let life slip by. Entering my sixties(REALLY?) I look back and reflect on my life as I’m sure many of us had, and have come to be enlightened to some Life Lessons I’ve learned.

    First, as I’ve head a million times, “Life is not a dress rehearsal”. Never put your family, friends, or significant other low on your priority list. How much of my life did I miss just thinking about those overdue accounts at work? Prefer a handful of truly close friends to a hundred acquaintances. Don’t lose touch with old friends. I’ve lost several over the years that time cannot replace. Occasionally stay up until the sun rises talking to people. Take risks in life. I don’t mean be a “stunt pilot” but push yourself to try new things or walk that extra mile.. Finally, I like the quote from author Hunter S. Thompson who said,”Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

  3. I have a cousin like this. He suffered some problems during birth and is mentally challenged.
    I hadn’t seen him for awhile and then got together when his father passed.
    He related the exact date and time he had seen me last (probably at least 10 years ago) as well as my mom and sister (which were all different dates)
    It was amazing!
    Sue Prota

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