As we stand on the threshold of a new year, it is exhilarating to look out and contemplate what we might be able to accomplish in the next 360 + days that lay ahead. In reality, even though we are invigorated with the idea that we may have a fresh start and a clean page, we know in our heart of hearts that today is simply another day wedged snuggly between two other days: yesterday and tomorrow.
So, with this in mind, I remind you there are two days in every week that we should not worry or fret about and from which we should keep ourselves free from fear and apprehension.
The first of these days is yesterday. Yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its’ faults and blunders, its’ aches and pains. Yesterday has gone, along with its failures as well as successes; its disappointments along with its opportunities; it has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back “yesterday”.
The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrows’ sun may never rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds. Until and if it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, as it is yet unborn.
This leaves only one day. Today! I submit that any man can fight the battles in just one day. It is only when we add the burdens of those two awful eternities: Yesterday and Tomorrow that we buckle under the load. There are no re-runs; this is not a rehearsal; in case you haven’t noticed yet… time is an un-renewable resource. You are only great tomorrow because of what you do today.
We have found that most unhappiness is nurtured by putting off living. Unfortunately, most of us live our whole life being happy when something happens. We seem too eager for the future, so we pick up bad habits of expecting something is always approaching until we find ourselves habitually and mindlessly saying, “I’ll be happy when.” How often have we said: I’ll be happy when we get a new car, when the baby comes or when they buy a house. Then they will be happy when the car is paid off, the house is furnished and decorated, or when the kids leave home. How about – I’ll be happy when the credit cards are all paid off when I don’t have to work anymore when we leave for vacation when we are able to get new carpeting. You can probably easily fill in the blanks here, right?
Happiness is NOW! Although some days may seem dull and useless, many from trivial to profound but, to quote Gloria Gaither who wrote: “We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand”.
Tom and I have never been people who have spent much time “looking back”. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to measure progress, review and evaluate the decisions made, and/or determine your current position in light of the progress you have made toward tomorrows’ goal. I’m not even suggesting it’s a bad idea to acknowledge your mistakes and errors, learn from them. Certainly, we learn much more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. It’s also not a bad idea to review your successes and bathe in the glory of your great performances.
However, we believe that about three minutes is all the time anyone should spend evaluating yesterday. We find little value in looking over our shoulder rehearing past blunders, hashing over mistakes, and wallowing around in the guilt of yesterday. These situations usually turn out to only be a “boogie man” anyway and not important, serving only to slow you down. Whatever you do, “don’t look back.” Who can forget the story of Lot’s wife who “looked back” and turned into a Pillar of Salt! Oh my!
So, as we move through each New Year, I suggest you make a concerted effort to live in “Day Tight Compartments”. Try this – before you rush headlong into the business of today, consider this anonymous poem I found in the pocket of a pair of old jeans (circ 1975):
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DAY.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it. I want it to be a gain not a loss, good not evil, success not a failure in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.
This article was modified from an article originally written by Roberta Standen and posted to this site on 2006/06/24.