Teach Us, Lord, to Count Our Days
by Susan Karsten
As those interested in bygone societies, particularly Regency-era England, we can profit by comparing the circumstances of mothers. Are we appropriately thankful for the full cup of days most of us enjoy from our Lord in the 21stcentury?
Life Expectancy: In the early 1800s, the life expectancy was around 40 years. Today, we can expect, Lord willing, 81 years (women), 77 years (men). One reason among several for this disparity is the high rate of infant mortality in the Regency.
Infant Mortality: As best as can be figured (since un-baptized babies weren’t counted in the parish registers which are the source for most data of this nature), an estimated 15% of infants died before the age of one during the Regency era. The United States has a rate of .68% (early 2000s).
Being Thankful: The crushing blow of losing a child soon after carrying it for nine months is a sorrow for the ages. It is much easier to quantify the statistics than the grief. We mothers who are blessed with living children must give praise and thanks for God’s mercy on us. We do not have the fearsome specter of early death hanging over us. Praise Him!
Psalm 90, a versification*
O teach Thou us to count our days
And set our hearts on wisdom’s ways;
Turn, Lord, to us in our distress,
In pity now Thy servants bless;
Let mercy’s dawn dispel our night,
And all our day with joy be bright.
O send the day of joy and light,
For long haas been our sorrow’s night;
Afflicted through the weary years,
We wait until Thy help appears;
With us and with our sons abide,
In us let God be glorified,
In us let God be glorified.
So let there be on us bestowed
The beauty of the Lord our God;
The work accomplished by our hand
Establish Thou, and make it stand;
Yea, let our hopeful labor be
Established evermore by Thee.
*Blue Psalter Hymnal #174