Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I was given an extra day. Would I just pack it full of everything that did not fit in the other days or would I treat it as a special gift? The thought hit me this month as I started to fill my February calendar with appointments. That’s when I took note of February 29.
This year is a Leap Year and this month we get an extra day. I have to admit that I did not look at it as a gift, an extra 24 hours added to my life. Instead I looked at it as just another day to fill. I was struck with how quickly I had forgotten about what I was doing on Leap Day in 2012 – or maybe I had subconsciously chosen to block it out.
On February 29, 2012, my father-in-law lay in a nursing home dying after he had suffered a severe stroke earlier in the month. At that moment, sitting there with my wife and stepmother-in-law, it was the only thing on the schedule that day that mattered. In moments like that, everything that is important in life becomes very clear. It forces one to contemplate what is significant in life.
My father-in-law died early the next day on March 1. I’d like to say it changed my priorities, but life has a way of taking over and filling all that white space each day on the calendar. It requires a vigilance to ensure the important things in life like family and friends don’t get lost in a packed calendar. At times it is difficult to sort out what is a priority and what is not. Other times, like last Leap Day for me, it becomes crystal clear what should take priority.
I’m hoping this Leap Day I can reflect on what’s important in life, to relish the fact that I have an extra day of life this year. While the day might still be filled with lots of activities, I am hoping that I will take time to appreciate those around me and what I have been blessed with in this life. In fact, it started me thinking that I should treat every day like it’s a gift.