All we have is this day

I wonder what is the longest book you have ever read? For me the top three longest are: ‘War and Peace’ (1440 pages), ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ (1000 pages), and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (800+).

What if we were to translate the number of days of our lives into pages? It makes a startling total. At present I am over the 16,000 mark!

How many pages/days in your life so far?

We do not know where or when our story of our life will come to an end. The simple fact is that we have no control over that. Only God knows that. But we can only live our lives one day at a time, or one page at a time. We can’t slow it down or speed it up. Some days go more quickly than others. Some are tediously slow.

The past

If we to take a backwards look at our lives, or if you like, the number of pages in your story so far, there are a number of people, places and events that come to mind.
I remember the day when... (How would we finish this sentence?)

A birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, my last day of school, a graduation, the day I stared my first job, got my first pay packet, the day I left home, my first time leaving the country, my first flight, my first date, meeting a future spouse, meeting your future best friend for the first time. All of us have happy memories that we cherish – we may even remember the exact date, and didn’t want the day to end. I remember the day clearly when I felt called to become a priest, February 8th, 1988, and the happiest, most wonderful day of my life, my ordination day, June 12th, 1993.

On the other hand, there were bleaker days for all of us: a day you were sick, or went to the dentist, or had to go to hospital, had to go to a funeral, where you had to part company, where a friendship or marriage ended, experienced bereavement, a day you were told bad news, where you were on 9/11..

The past is filled with joys and sorrows.

... The future

'I look forward to the day when...'

Christmas, a birthday, a reunion, a holiday abroad, last day of school, retirement, a party, the birth of a child, the New Year, a wedding, and so on.

But we can spend (or waste) a lot of time brooding over the past, perhaps even hankering for it, and it will never happen again; things will never be as they were.

We can equally worry (or hope) for the future but wishing won’t make it so.

All we have is this day. And every day of the future, and each day will be of equal length!

So all we have this day. What number day is it for you? What are you going to do with it? How are you going to live it, you with your unique strengths, talents, abilities, gifts, as well as flaws and warts and weaknesses? Does anyone have the perfect life, free form hardship, pain etc. NO, we all get our share. No-one has the secret to complete happiness on earth. But we have a decision to make. There are ultimately two kinds of people in the world: those for whom life happens to them, or those who happen to life.

Your life story is unique to you and only you can live it. Yes, you are the main character in your story. Who are the other main characters that also feature in your story, in the past and right now?

You may not always seem in control, and you don’t know what is around the corner. The main decision is to the right thing, and then take the next best step forward. God respects our free will, but wants us to make the right choices.

God is the author of our life, and he has a plan for the story of our life. In the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, we are a pen in His hands, and He has beautiful handwriting (if we let Him).

We are in the middle of our story right now, and this day is like a ribbon or bookmark in the story,as in the picture, while every few hours is a paragraph, and every conversation is a piece of dialogue. Every thought, word and action matters and is part of the storyline. What chapter am I on? How will I live this day? And what can I do today to ensure a happy ending, i.e., Heaven.

Jesus wishes to say to each of us as He said on the cross: ‘This day you will be with me in paradise’.

And then life really starts, the life God wants for us, eternal happiness, to live happily after.

It is good to have a motto

Make today count.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Today is a gift; that is why they call it ‘the present’!

It is also a good idea to have a prayer, or even the line of a Scripture, to keep us focussed in this strange reality of ‘now-ness’. Below are some suggestions:

‘Give us this day our daily bread’

‘O that today you would listen into His voice’ (Psalm 94)

As long as this ‘today’ lasts, keep encouraging one another (Hebrews)

‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ (Mt 6:34)

Prayer: Lord, there is nothing that will happen to me today that you and I can’t handle together.

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