Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2013, 6:00 am

Today: Why is it this writer's favorite day of the year?

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By Dan Lee

At an event I recently attended, as an icebreaker we were asked to indicate what our favorite day of the year is. Most of the answers were the usual ones -- Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. The answer I gave, though, left some of those in attendance puzzled.

I stated that today is always my favorite day.

That takes a little unpacking.

As a child, I could hardly wait for Christmas and other big days to come. Seeing my impatience, someone (I no longer remember exactly who it was, though it might have been one of my aunts) said to me, "Don't wish your life away." That caught my attention.

I also think of my paternal grandfather, who lived until he was in his late 80s. He was profoundly thankful for each day, rejoicing in the wonderful gift of life.
That is why each day is so special. Life is a wonderful gift that God has given us, a gift to be treasured and preserved. A gift in which we ought to rejoice each and every day.

There was a time when I found tasks such as peeling fence posts (the task on the farm I least enjoyed) onerous and could hardly wait to be finished with them. But those days are far behind me.

As did my grandfather, I rejoice in the gift of life each day. Perhaps that is a function of being two-thirds of a century old and seeing obituaries in the paper each day for people who were younger than I am. (My hope is that my picture won't move from this side of the page to the other side anytime soon.)

Saying that we ought to rejoice in the gift of life each day does not imply that nothing ever goes wrong. Things go wrong all the time. Take, for example, the ice and snowstorm we had a week ago. When I went to my car to go home at 10:15 p.m. after having put in a 14-hour day on campus, all four of my car doors were frozen shut, which was not cause for rejoicing.

There was a time when, like many people, I would get stressed out if something went wrong. But as the years have gone by, I find that I am more and more like Red Green on the PBS show that my wife loves (hopefully not because it reminds her of me). Nothing ever fazes Red Green. That's a good trait to have.

The parallel, however, ends at this point. Red Green would have cheerfully bashed the door with a sledge hammer until it opened and then put the pieces back together again with duct tape. I didn't happen to have a sledge hammer or duct tape with me.

But I did have access to hot water. It took me nearly an hour to get the door on the driver's side thawed out enough to open it.

Once that was accomplished, I started up the car, chiseled the ice from the windshield and drove home, pleased that I had handled this inconvenient little situation with such equanimity.

Perhaps it was because I was so pleased with the equanimity with which I handled the frozen door situation that I forgot to turn off the headlights when I parked my car the next day.

As cold as it was, it took less than three hours for the battery to run down. They invented battery chargers for a reason, however. I called my wife, who stopped by to pick me up and take me home so that I could get my battery charger and a long extension cord.

By the time I was ready to go home at 9:30 p.m. that evening, the battery was fully charged and everything was just fine.

Yes, things sometimes go wrong. Yet each and every day is precious.
That's what makes each day my favorite day of the year.
Dan Lee teaches ethics at Augustana College;