Wednesday, December 22, 2010

rejoice today

Jesus really got it right when He said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 18:3). How wonderful to live life with child-like faith and simplicity, seizing each moment of each day with passion and exultation. I wonder, when did we outgrow that? Now it has to be a conscious decision -- a deliberate, continual choice to live joyfully, and in the moment. Psalm 118 says "THIS is the day the LORD has made" -- not yesterday or tomorrow, and -- "Let us REJOICE and BE GLAD in it".

It's strange how our minds dwell on the past, or jump ahead into the future -- often with great negativity -- when right NOW is the only time we can be sure of. We put off living, and the present slips away -- wasted -- and is gone forever.

This reminds me of Canadian physician Sir William Osler's address to students at Yale University in 1913 -- he told them to live in "day-tight compartments", similar to the water-tight compartments that keep ships afloat (remember Titanic?). Osler urged that "you so learn to control the machinery as to live with 'day-tight compartments' as the most certain way to ensure safety on the voyage... Touch a button and hear, at every level of your life, the iron doors shutting out the Past -- the dead yesterdays. Touch another and shut off, with a metal curtain, the Future -- the unborn tomorrows. Then you are safe -- safe for today! Shut off the past! Let the dead past bury its dead... The load of tomorrow, added to that of yesterday, carried today, makes the strongest falter. Shut off the future as tightly as the past... The day of man's salvation is now" (Way of Life, William Osler).

"Live neither in the past nor in the future," Dr Osler said, "but let each day absorb all your interest, energy and enthusiasm. The best preparation for tomorrow is to live today superbly well".

Dr Osler also had a beautiful poem written by the classical Sanskrit writer Kālidāsa on his desk called Salutation to the Dawn:

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life,
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty,
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn.

So again, THIS is the day the LORD has made, let us REJOICE and BE GLAD IN IT!

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