CARPE DIEM

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. [James 4:13-14 (NLT)]

flower-of-an-hour -Hibiscus trionumSeveral years ago, I heard a young woman with Parkinson’s comment, “Every day I wake up, I realize that I’m the best I ever will be. This is as good as it gets; it’s only downhill from here.” Even though I don’t have a degenerative disease like hers, those words continue to haunt me. No matter how healthy or happy we may be, we have no guarantee that tomorrow will be any better than today. Life is precarious and our tomorrows are uncertain.

I recently had lunch with a woman whose brain tumor has returned. She is painfully aware that today may be the best day she has in her future. Like the woman with Parkinson’s, however, she is not letting that knowledge steal her joy in the present. In fact, their awareness of life’s fragility has given them both more appreciation of every moment with which God blesses them.

As I walked this morning, I again thought about how uncertain our tomorrows are for all of us. Why do we squander a single breath with anger, regret or complaint? Why do we waste a moment in self-pity or worry when it should be spent in thankfulness and joy? Why do we have twenty/twenty vision of the day’s imperfections when we are blind to the day’s blessings? The old saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” is only partially true. Today could also be the last day of your life here on earth. If not the last one, it could well be the best day you’ll ever experience.

There is a lovely little wildflower called “Flower-of-an-Hour” (Hibiscus trionum). It blooms on a sunny day and remains open only a few hours. From the moment its petals open, it knows that is the best and most beautiful it will ever be. Nevertheless, it reaches for the sun, is pollinated by the bees and butterflies, shares its leaves with caterpillars and rabbits, and makes the most of its brief time. Why don’t we? It shouldn’t take cancer or Parkinson’s to make us realize that today is the best day of our lives!

Father, forgive us when we fail to make the most of every moment with which you have generously blessed us. No matter what the future may bring, may each day be our best day ever! Help us to seize each day, rejoice and be glad in it!

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live. [Dalai Lama]

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. [Psalm 118:23-24 (NLT)]

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. [Psalm 39:4 (NLT)]

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