Off the Pulpit

Measuring A Life

A little over a year ago my daughter told me how my Apple iPhone counts my steps each day 

I had lived in blissful ignorance of this invention. Now I check my steps, wonder whether I should have more steps, worry on Shabbat (when I do not carry my phone) how many steps I am ‘missing” and generally have found an entirely new field to uselessly obsess over. 

We measure everything about our lives these days — not only calories but our cholesterol, our heart rates, our income; we are subjected to an endless stream of poll numbers and surveys quantifying attitudes and opinions. We are inundated with data.

Yet there is no scale for tenderness or affection. You cannot calibrate kindness. No matter how sophisticated our instruments, there is no computation for creativity, for love, or for the depth of a human heart.

So take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk to the place you would otherwise drive. It is healthy and you will up your numbers. But remember that the success of a life is measured in those things we cannot measure.