Inside a few weeks I attended funeral services for two of my oldest friends. Their combined ages total 197 years, so when I say oldest friends I mean long lives well lived.
Gwyneth had been matron in a London orphanage in the 1930s and 1940s, where she looked after 150 Jewish refugee children from Germany. Later in her seventh decade she was co-founder of a weekly meeting place for homeless people to be fed, clothed and cared for.
Margaret knitted more than 1,000 baby cardigans for various agencies, and virtually ran a marmalade factory to raise funds for relief and medical work.
They were ordinary people who were extraordinarily determined to do what needed done to make human life better. For them compassion wasn’t an occasional kindness, but a habit of the heart, a moral obligation to love their neighbours.
“So teach us to number our days that we might gain a wise heart.” (Psalm 92.1) Numbering our days isn’t about counting numbers; it’s about weighing significance. Over the course of two long lifetimes, my two friends’ days were numbered in their significance for others. In countless small and strategic acts of faithful kindness, they made a difference in other people’s lives.