Right around the new year, most of us start to think about resolutions, personal organization, self-discipline issues and the like. In that context, I got to thinking about how many more years, days or hours I have left here on earth. That kind of focus caused me to do a little math problem.
With a life expectancy of about 81 years (women are outliving men by at least 5 years), I did some calculating. Statistically speaking, I have approximately 4,010 days of life left, this side of glory. Wow, once you put a number to it, the issues start to firm up. Things get more serious. Suddenly, it’s a somber conversation.
And that conversation starts to focus on three time periods: the past, the present and the future. The more mature among us realize that there is absolutely nothing we can do about the past. Unless we want to be victims of bygone days, we just need to let it go.
The future is the next season to consider. But truthfully, we can easily become slaves to the future as we succumb to our fears and anxieties. As we reiterate the long list of “what ifs,” we are paralyzed and stuck in a dark vortex usually of our own making.
And then there is the present. The psalmist thought highly of TODAY when he wrote Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us be rejoice and be glad in it.” TODAY was an important concept to the third century monastic Desert Fathers too. They chose to wander around with a two-syllable mantra. And that word wasn’t “Jesus” or “God” or “Love.” Their word was “TODAY.”
Repeating the simple word, “TODAY” allowed them to say “yes” to their present moments. They were convinced that living simply was the key to a joy filled life. I think their example can be instructive as we start this new year.
We too need to live in the present. One writer suggested some intentional activities that would help us stay focused on TODAY. She suggested that we touch something and think about it. Taste something and reflect on its flavor. Smell something and consider its aroma. Close our eyes and listen, really listen to what is going on around us. Let those sounds delight us.
Bottom line this week, I am suggesting that we do less resolution making and more thinking. Let’s purposefully choose to “breathe” (figuratively and literally). Let’s mull over the concepts behind the mantra “TODAY.”
Because TODAY really is the day the Lord has made!