Day 17: Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

26 Feb


Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?

Those are some of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite Broadway songs.

“Seasons of Love” from Rent captures the idea that life is really a series of moments. Moments that, when stretched out from end to end, seem quite long; and yet, when seen individually, seem fleeting and intimate and gone-too-soon.

I thought of these lyrics, recently, when I was looking at the mass of meter test strips that my 11-year-old daughter uses many times, each and every day, to test her blood sugar levels.

On any given day, Sydney may use up anywhere from 8 to 12 of these strips. She pricks her finger, draws blood, and uses the strips to see if her levels are high or low.

That’s a lot of strips over the course of a year. (It’s 3,360 a year if I guess at 10 per day.)

And then there’s the shots of insulin she gives to herself every single day to battle the fact that her Type-1 (or juvenile) diabetes has stripped her pancreas of any natural insulin.

She has to give herself four each day, but on many days she may take 6 or 7.

That’s a lot of syringes and shots. (That adds up to 1,680–if I’m being greedy and saying she only takes 5 a day.)

I often get quite angry when I think about this awful disease and the way it wreaks havoc on Sydney’s body. I get sad when I think how it has changed her life on a daily–minute-ly, hour-ly–basis.

If I look at the numbers–the test trips, the syringes, the bottles of insulin, the doctor visits–I can get overwhelmed.

It just seems so massive, and big, and costly, and piled so, so, so high.

When I look at how Sydney has survived each and every minute, hour, day, week, month, and year since she was diagnosed at 8-years-old, it could all run together and blend into a big, sad story.

But, instead, I like to look at every single moment–Sydney’s own “five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes“–as small joys and victories.

Along with the strips and the syringes are tears and hugs and hurts and smiles. They represent just how incredibly strong she is.

And those small moments create a large picture…a life in perspective, a life with meaning, a life that has taught so much to every single person around her.

The number of test strips will be in the hundreds of thousands by the time she ends her days (unless we can, God willing, find a cure!)…but what a joyous story they will tell.

In the end, her life will not be one of Type-1 diabetes–although that will certainly be part of her story.

How will her life be measured?

By strips and insulin, yes.

But by so, so, so much more.

May it be said the same of you and me, and whatever struggle or cross we bear.

The struggles…the mounds and piles of metaphorical test strips in your life…can be diminished by our


and cups of coffee,

and joy,

and love.






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