Today is the first day of the rest of your life. I know you have heard that before. So what do you make of it.
If the circumstances of this day are desirable, should you expect that to be the case forever? If you find yourself in an unpleasant situation, does that mean the rest of life is going to be bad?
Paul Harvey said, “Tomorrow has always been better than today, and it always will be.” Do you believe that is true? No matter what your day is like today, tomorrow will be better? Some days you have to think like that because what you are experiencing today is horrible. Things have to improve or you are not sure you can survive. You identify with the sentiments expressed by Chuck Palahniuk in his novel, Fight Club: “Today is the sort of day where the sun only comes up to humiliate you.”
On the other hand, some days find you riding high. You find yourself singing Oscar Hammerstein’s words from the musical play, Oklahoma:
Oh what a beautiful mornin’
Oh what a beautiful day
I’ve got a beautiful feelin’
Everything’s going my way
And you think that it doesn’t get better than this.
Bill Keane, the originator of the long-running newspaper comic The Family Circus, once said, “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” Therefore, we follow the admonition to seize the day- Carpe Diem! Instead of an attitude of gloom and doom, you choose to accept “this is the day the Lord has made” and you resolve to “rejoice and be glad in it.”
In an online blog a few years ago, Glennon Doyle Melton wrote: “Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc. I know that this message is right and good. But … I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. (It) makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.”
Melton goes on to explain the difference between Chronos (regular) time and Kairos (God’s) time. As the mother of three small children, she describes her days as enduring “hard, slow passing time.” She also recognizes Kairos- “those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day.”
Whatever today brings it is important to live in the moment. We must not deny harsh realities or expect blissful conditions always. Perhaps the advice offered by James Dean is fitting. “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
A song from the 1970s musical Godspell offers good counsel.
Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day
As we sing these words and follow their direction, we remember Jesus’ instructions that loving God and loving each other go hand in hand. Today is the day!