I bought a brand-new date book yesterday, the kind I use every year – spiral-bound, black imitation leather covers wrapped around pages and pages of blank boxes. Every square has a number to tell me which day of the month Iâ€™m in at the moment. Every square is a frame for one episode of my life. Before Iâ€™m through with the book, I will fill the squares with classes I teach, people with whom I ate lunch, everlasting committee meetings I sit through, and these are only the things I cannot afford to forget. I fill the squares too with things I do not write down to remember: thousands of cups of coffee, some lovemaking, some praying, and, I hope, gestures of help to my neighbors. Whatever I do, it has to fit inside one of those squares on my date book. I live one square at a time. The four lines that make up the box are the walls of time that organize my life. Each box has an invisible door that leads to the next square. As if by a silent stroke, the door opens and I am pulled through, as if by a magnet, sucked into the next square in line. There I will again fill the time frame that seals me – fill it with my busy-ness just as I did the square before. As I get older, the squares seem to get smaller. One day I will walk into a square that has no door. There will be no mysterious opening and no walking into an adjoining square. One of those squares will be terminal. I do not know which square it will be.
- Lewis Smedes
My name is Josh Clark. I am twenty-three, and I do not know how many squares I have left. I could have 18,250. I could have three. Whatever the case, 24 hours from now Iâ€™ll have one less. Will I have used it wisely?