The number also made me think of a rather less joyful event. Hubby and I were out shopping a little while ago now and came across a rather tragic site of a elderly man who had fallen and was being treated with CPR. I rushed over to assist as I know how tiring CPR is in practice (it's nothing to the real thing, I can tell you!). It turned out the person didn't actually know CPR properly but had been trying what they'd seen once, so I stepped in. Now I'd love this to be a story of great joy and heroism but I did what the training tells you to do. I gave some rescue breaths and proceeded to CPR until another lady came who was from the British Red Cross and then the ambulance came. Sadly, there wasn't much hope. It was a rather shocking experience and one of those things that puts life in perspective.
It's also one of those things that, when reflecting on it, you really wnat to find some great deep wisdom about it that you can pass on. In fact I think the thing I'd pass on is about the reality, value and joy of life and our call to live it to the full, thanking God fort he joys and seeking God's strength in the tough times because the "fullness" of life includes joys and tragedies. Being a Christian doesn't insulate you from life, it calls you to engage with it in all its twists and turns, in those things which bring a joyful resolve as well as in those things which are left hanging.
So often in life we want everything to be sewn up and rounded off, completed, ticked and done. Life doesn't work that way. Again I find myself returning to Paul's Letter to the Philippians
"Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own...but
this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what
lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God
in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-14).